FTC’s Proposed “Do Not Track” List
When Federal Trade Commission (FTC) came out with the Do Not Call list idea, everyone loved it. Okay, may be not everyone. I am sure the telemarketers didn’t like the fact that they can’t pick up the phone and start calling anyone they want. But I bet they like it when they themselves don’t receive these uninvited calls. The Do Not Call list is by far one of the most popular successes FTC ever had. Now FTC wants voluntary ‘Do Not Track’ for the Web. The details are posted on the FTC site in this 122-page PDF file. The document was posted on December 1, 2010 and is essentially a Do Not Call list for online behavioral advertising.
Just three days ago on January 24, 2011, Mozilla and Google announced their browser Do Not Track features. You can read more about their approach here. There are pros and cons to the way different companies will implement their features. For example, adding a Do Not Track HTTP header in the browser like Mozilla’s plan for the Firefox browser seems to have an advantage in the sense that even if the user clears the browser cache, the opt-out setting will remain in place. If the feature is implemented as opt-out cookies or an opt-out registry, the results will be different and the setting may be lost. Once the dust settles we will know exactly how different browsers will end up implementing this feature. Frankly, at this point it’s too early and as some wise guy/gal once said, the proof is going to be in the pudding.
Microsoft has already announced in the first week of December that it would add a new Tracking Protection feature to Internet Explorer (IE) 9. This feature is expected to show up in IE9’s release candidate (RC) version sometime in Q1 2011. This is good news because according to some reports Microsoft removed similar features from IE8 because of the pressure from online advertisers.