Ad industry leaders uncertain how to move forward on Do Not Track

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Mozilla's chief executive painted a picture of dismissive and clueless ad industry CEOs, uncertain about how to move forward on consumer privacy issues, in a series of media interviews published this week.

Gary Kovacs told The Wall Street Journal that Do Not Track “probably doesn't need to be regulated, but it probably will be.” He added that marketers will “have to figure out a way to make the model work without trading and selling data.”

However, in an even more revealing interview with Fast Company, Kovacs said ad executives responded with horror to Mozilla's plan to add privacy options to its Firefox Web browser, telling him, “You're breaking the Web…It'll be a great place for a nonprofit, but you don't understand the Web.”

Kovacs added that he was also greeted with stunned silence when he asked the industry leaders if they “don't think [they] can create an experience great enough that [consumers will] actually overtly subscribe to it.”

There's a huge gulf between the advertising industry and the general public on this issue. Two thirds of consumers oppose online behavioral tracking, according to a December 2010 Gallup poll. Marketers have their work cut out for them if they think they can swing the public to their side of the issue before Do Not Track laws are considered by Congress.  

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