As Andy already reported, organizations from consumer, privacy, and technology groups recently proposed the development of a “do not track” list in hopes of providing consumers the ability to prevent advertising networks from being able to track which websites consumers are visiting. The proposed “do not track” list was based on the idea of and is being compared to the “do not call” list that the FTC implemented in 2003 with significant success.
Conceptually the idea seems acceptable but the truth is it also seems extremely unrealistic. The following information is quoted directly from the proposal:
”Companies providing web, video, and other forms of browser applications should provide functionality (i.e., a browser feature, plug-in, or extension) that allows users to import or otherwise use the “do not track” list of domain names, keep the list up-to-date, and block domains on the list from tracking their internet activity.”
It seems to me that the coalition doesn’t want the consumers to have to make any effort to protect themselves but rather push the burden back on the businesses meeting the demand of the consumers.
When the “do not call” list was implemented the burden of having to comply with that ruling was not one felt by all nearly all businesses but rather a small few whose businesses themselves were directly and often overwhelming invading in an uncontrolled way the consumers way of life. This is just not the case with web based companies.
In my mind consumers have the right to visit or not visit a website as they see fit. Consumers already have protections, some provided directly from advertising organizations, as well as browser based security protections, and anti virus options to keep cookies, software, and other unwanted materials off of their systems.
Not being technical and or not being web savvy enough to protect one’s information doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to want to pass legislation to bring the federal government into the online advertising arena and allow them to dictate for the perceived benefit of the consumer what and or what types of surfing information an advertising network may collect. What do you think?