Do Not Track Legislation
Analysts speculate the reasoning behind Google's 'Do Not Track' addition to Chrome, and question whether legislation will ensue nonetheless.
Readers respond to the August Gloves Off question: Will "Do Not Track" destroy online ads?
W3C has been in talks about "Do Not Track" (DNT), but little, so far, has been resolved.
Digital marketers are torn on the potential effect of "Do Not Track" legislation.
For some, war terminology is simply the best way to describe "Do Not Track," a policy proposal that, if passed, may make it harder for marketers to track and target customers online. Dramatic, no?
FTC Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch has written a letter scorning Microsoft for making "Do Not Track" its default setting in Internet Explorer.
The Digital Advertising Alliance should work to implement its online behavioral advertising opt-out mechanism on a browser level, said Federal Trade Commission (FTC) chairman Jon Leibowitz on Nov. 8.
Several points of alignment between government officials and industry executives emerged at a recent hearing on consumer online privacy.
Last week the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) said that it's created a Tracking Protection Working Group to standardize browsers' Do Not Track mechanisms. The group's hosting a conference call on September 14 and is slated to publish standards by mid-2012.
Audience-measurement company Quantcast Corp. will enable small- and medium-sized online publishers to adopt the Digital Advertising Alliance's (DAA) Advertising Option icon for free this month, the company said July 6. The partnership will expand the reach of the trade group's self-regulation program to a majority of Quantcast's 25 million-plus publisher customers.
With nearly 10 digital privacy bills introduced this Congress, Peter Kosmala, managing director of the Digital Advertising Alliance, discusses what the organization is doing to raise consumer awareness of the industry's self-regulation program, responds to its reported challenges and explains how the industry plans to address mobile privacy.
Congress is finally wrapping its head around mobile devices' GPS capabilities. Last week saw two bills introduced that would outlaw nonconsensual location tracking and sharing.
Legislation alone won't safeguard consumers' privacy online, said Mozilla Foundation chairwoman Mitchell Baker in an interview with 'Fast Company.' Baker said "it's hard to imagine" a bill that online companies could implement.
Do Not Track has gone mobile. Mozilla added the anti-tracking mechanism to a beta version of its Firefox for Android mobile browser on May 20. According to Mozilla, it's the first mobile browser to feature a Do Not Track mechanism.
Behavioral marketing provides value to consumers, said US Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) during a Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing on May 19. McCaskill's opinion contrasted with those of her upper chamber colleagues, who spent much of the mobile privacy hearing discussing location tracking.
An industry-developed universal Do Not Track mechanism must allow consumers to opt-out from targeted ads and data collection, as well as enforce their preferences, said David Vladeck, director of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection.
US Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced an online privacy bill May 9 that would mandate the creation of a Do Not Track mechanism to allow consumers to opt-out of behavioral tracking online and on mobile devices. The Do Not Track Online Act of 2011 calls for the Federal Trade Commission to create the requirements for a Do Not Track mechanism.
US Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) will introduce a Do Not Track bill next week that would require companies to abide the choice of consumers who opt out of online behavioral tracking.
It's been a banner week for privacy legislation. On the heels of Tuesday's introduction of a US Senate privacy 'bill of rights,' US Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) unveiled prospective privacy legislation on Wednesday that would also require brands to tell customers what data they're tracking.
US Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) introduced federal privacy legislation on April 12 that would require companies to provide consumers with opt-out mechanisms and to notify consumers of the collection and use of personally identifiable information (PII) both online and offline. However, the Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011 does not include a Do Not Track provision.
The frenzy surrounding online privacy and behaviorally-targeted online advertising brought me to the same conclusion FDR reached upon our entry into World War II: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
The Obama administration urged Congress to create federal legislation that would allow consumers new online privacy rights and give the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforcement authority, federal officials told a Senate committee on March 16. Lawrence Strickling, an assistant secretary within the Commerce Department, said the White House "recommends that legislation set forth baseline consumer data privacy protections - that is a consumer 'privacy bill of rights.'"
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.
Although a number of industry groups have argued for industry self-regulation of online tracking, that's probably just wishful thinking. The Federal Trade Commission's recent Do Not Track proposal will likely lead to some type of formal legislation. The real question is whether the advertising industry is prepared to make the same mistakes twice.
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