Posted October 10, 2012 2:55 pm by with 0 comments

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Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades and apparently “Do Not Track” only counts if a human flips the switch.

The IAB (The Interactive Advertising Bureau) has come out in support of the DAA’s (Digital Advertising Alliance) stance against the evil developers at Microsoft who made track blocking the default in the newest version of Internet Explorer.

The IAB and the DAA want you to know that they’re not against allowing people to stop tracking while they surf, as a matter of record, they encourage people to exercise their right to say no to tracking and therein lies the problem. They say IE 10 is not people, it’s a machine and we don’t want machines making these life changing decisions for us.

Now I understand where they’re coming from. I’ve seen 2001 and Terminator. I know what happens when you give a machine too much power. On the other hand, I’d be happy to have my car parallel park for me and hit the breaks if the car in front of me comes to a sudden stop. For some things, I trust an emotionless (?) machine to do a better job than the average human, so I’m okay with IE 10 making a judgement call about which ads I see and don’t see.

The IAB says it’s restricting freedom of choice and will not be tolerated. What they really mean is, ‘hey, if people have to make a conscious effort to turn on tracking, we might as well forget the whole system because it ain’t gonna work.’ (Note: I don’t know if the people at IAB would actually say ‘ain’t’, but I feel like it’s a possibility.)

In order to get their point across, the IAB and the DAA are encouraging ad networks to ignore any “Do Not Track” signals coming from the Internet Explorer 10 browser. Hmm. . . that sounds. . . selective. Suppose some of those users actually wanted to have their browser set to block tracking? You’re going to ignore their wish and track anyway? Doesn’t that defeat the entire purpose of “Do Not Track” in the first place?

As if that wasn’t crazy enough, ZDNet has a series of email messages regarding this matter that have to read to be believed. Here’s a snippet from one member of the Direct Marketing Association:

Marketing fuels the world. It is as American as apple pie and delivers relevant advertising to consumers about products they will be interested at a time they are interested.  DNT should permit it as one of the most important values of civil society.  Its byproduct also furthers democracy, free speech, and – most importantly in these times – JOBS.  It is as critical to society – and the economy – as fraud prevention and IP protection and should be treated the same way.

Wow. I’m all for marketing. Yes, it does its part in generating revenue and it does create jobs. But I’m not sure that regulating it is a threat to democracy, free speech, truth, justice or the American way.

What do you think? Is “Do Not Track” worthy of all this grandstanding or is it just another bump in the road we all need to get over?