Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Do Not Track" is not holding traction in administration, Congress

Craig Timberg has an update on the debate on “do not track” on p. A14 of The Washington Post on Wednesday November 28, 2012, “’Do Not Track’ push for web privacy hits a virtual wall; Data-protection effort lags after early signs of momentum”, and online “’Do Not Track’ Internet privacy initiative struggles to keep momentum”, link (website url) here

Meetings on the issue are reported to have turned “acrimonious” and a “deal” (in the administration and maybe Congress) is months away.

Privacy advocates claim that most users cannot take the trouble to use the opt-in methods.  Web companies have experienced little use of it so far.  But Microsoft’s default setting for its latest Internet Explorer has yet to take hold, possibly because IE is not as popular as other browsers, and the whole question of mobile tracking remains.

The article discusses the potential opportunity of a site “Your ad choices”, link.  But it’s pretty hard for me (at least)  to imagine consumers going to the “trouble” of using it. 

On most major sites, I can tell that I am tracked heavily from what is displayed to me. I haven’t tried to use the non-tracking settings in browsers yet.  But, I am a soloist.   

And there may be other issues that are turning out to have a bigger bearing on privacy, like photography. 

Update: Nov. 29

The New York Times reported today, on p. A2, in a story by Natasha Singer, that the WWC has appointed Peter Swire as a mediator in "do not track" talks, link here. In the absence of global standards, some advertisers don't honor DNT browser flags today. 

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