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December 1st, 2010, 04:56 PM #1FTC Backs Do-Not-Track System for Web
I'm not sure this could even go anywhere, but thought it would be good for folks to read.
WASHINGTON—The Federal Trade Commission unveiled a report on Internet privacy Wednesday that calls for the development of a do-not-track system that would enable people to avoid having their actions monitored online, a move the online-advertising industry has opposed.
"Industry must do better," the FTC staff report states. "Many companies—both online and offline—do not adequately address consumer privacy interests."
"We will not tolerate a technological arms race that aims to subvert consumer choice," Mr. Vladeck said. "We have to simplify consumer choice, and a do-not-track option can achieve that goal."
FTC Backs System Allowing People to Avoid Online Tracking - WSJ.com
December 1st, 2010, 05:11 PM #2
I've read on this forum somewhere before that bad actors can potentially kludge things up for everyone..... Now... where did I read that?
Most tracking and analytics are harmless to the consumer. but if you look at what sites like Dictionary dot com and others do with that kind of data, we end up with reactions like the FTC statement.
The Web Analytics Association just begun work on a code of ethics that speaks to this exact issue.
December 1st, 2010, 05:15 PM #3
December 3rd, 2010, 12:03 AM #4How will 'Don't Track' affect affiliates?
An article in USA TODAY states that the do not track rule will be more effective than the 'do not call."
Don't Track technology is simple, experts say - USATODAY.com
How will that affect affiliates using Google Analytics or other system of analytics?~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
December 3rd, 2010, 10:52 AM #5
How will customers react when they will constantly have to enter in their city or zip in order to get local weather? All their personalized homepages, layouts, etc.?
Also, I'm not sure if FTC has the jurisdiction to make this kind of decision.
December 3rd, 2010, 11:00 AM #6
We should keep an eye on this: FTC Backs Do-Not-Track System for Web
- Join Date
- February 24th, 2010
- Salt Lake City, Utah
What do you all think about this?
FTC Backs Do-Not-Track System for Web
DECEMBER 2, 2010
By JULIA ANGWIN And JENNIFER VALENTINO-DEVRIES
WASHINGTON—The Federal Trade Commission weighed in on the issue of Internet privacy Wednesday, calling for development of a "do not track" system that would enable people to avoid having their actions monitored online—prompting immediate objections from the online-advertising industry.
"Self regulation of privacy has not worked adequately and is not working adequately for American consumers," said FTC Commissioner Jon Leibowitz. "We deserve far better."
The FTC endorsed a report by its staff that faulted the industry for not doing enough to protect consumer privacy online. Mr. Leibowitz said the FTC isn't calling for legislation yet but pointed to the report as a recommendation for lawmakers.
The Federal Trade Commission unveiled a report on Internet privacy Wednesday that calls for the development of a do-not-track system that would enable people to avoid having their actions monitored online. Spencer Ante discusses.
The FTC report comes amid other signs that regulators and lawmakers in Washington are concerned about the privacy issues raised by online tracking. A House subcommittee on consumer protection is holding a hearing on the matter Thursday. The U.S. Commerce Department is also planning to release a report containing online privacy recommendations soon.
At a separate panel on Wednesday, the Commerce Department official in charge of the privacy report, Daniel J. Weitzner, said the current tools for blocking online tracking are "blunt instruments."
"We're supportive of tools that give users more control," Mr. Weitzner said.
The FTC report suggests that the most practical method of providing a do-not-track system would be to include a setting in Web-browsing software that would broadcast people's desire not to be tracked.
Such a method would require Web browser makers to install a do-not-track feature and tracking companies to comply with do-not-track requests.
Major Web browser makers including Microsoft Corp., Google Inc., Mozilla Corp. and Apple Inc. have experimented with do-not-track tools in their browsers, Mr. Leibowitz said.
"We're going to give these companies a little time but would like to see them work a lot faster," he said.
A spokesman for Microsoft declined to comment on whether the company was experimenting with do-not-track technology in its Internet Explorer browser. The software giant's chief privacy officer, Brendon Lynch, said in a prepared statement that the coming version of its browser will focus on "enabling our customers' choice and control with respect to their online privacy."
A Google spokesman said "the FTC raises some interesting ideas, and we look forward to learning more about what Do Not Track could look like."
Sid Stamm, an executive at Mozilla, developer of the Firefox browser, said the company wants "to help find a way for people to opt out of online tracking."
Apple declined to comment.
Privacy advocates cheered the report. "The FTC finally gets it— consumer privacy is seriously at risk online and off," said Jeffrey Chester, director of the Center for Digital Democracy.
However, the $23 billion online ad industry immediately rejected the FTC's proposal.
Mike Zaneis, senior vice president at the industry's lobbying group, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, said the industry already provides the "functional equivalent" of a do-not-track system with its website, Aboutads.info, which allows people to "opt out" of receiving targeted ads from nearly 60 companies. Mr. Zaneis said consumers wouldn't benefit from turning off tracking because "consumers depend on sharing of data ... to customize news sites, optimize Web services such as social networks, and provide relevant content and advertising across the Web."
Advertisers said restricting tracking could limit the ability of websites to offer free content that is paid for by advertising.
"FTC endorses 'do not track'; an emotional goodbye to free content so kindly funded by advertisers," tweeted Rob Norman, chief executive of WPP PLC's GroupM North America, which buys ads on behalf of corporate clients.
The FTC report also calls for companies to provide "just in time" notice to consumers if they plan to use people's data in a way that is "not commonly accepted" and for companies to give people "reasonable access" to data collected about them.
The report challenged the notion that data collected by tracking companies is benign because it doesn't include user's names.
The report says the distinction between data containing personally identifiable information and anonymous data is becoming less meaningful.
As a result, the FTC report says its recommendations apply to the collection of any data that can be "reasonably linked to a specific consumer, computer or other device."
The ad industry's current opt-out system prevents only the use of tracking data for advertising purposes, not the collection of tracking data.
The FTC supports being able to "opt out of data collection, not [just] out of targeted advertising," said Jessica Rich, the deputy director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.
The Wall Street Journal has been examining the online-tracking industry in its "What They Know" series.
The FTC is seeking comments on its privacy recommendations and will issue a final version of its report next year.
Mr. Leibowitz said the report "is not a template for enforcement." He added: "At this point I think we're making recommendations for best practices."
—Emily Steel contributed to this article
Write to Julia Angwin at julia.angwin9at0wsj.com and Jennifer Valentino-DeVriesat jennifer.valentino(at)wsj.com
Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704594804575648670826747094.html
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December 3rd, 2010, 11:09 AM #7
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