Do-not-track list ‘would not affect' research
US-- Online tracking for research purposes would not be affected by a proposed do-not-track list aimed at marketers, one of the groups behind the idea has said.
Representatives of consumer groups have been discussing the proposal with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at an FTC workshop on behavioural tracking in Washington DC. The call for a do-not-track list was proposed in a letter to the FTC on Wednesday as part of a raft of measures to protect consumers online.
Between meetings today, Mark Cooper, director of research at the Consumer Federation of America, told Research: “This is the start of a process. The more I've heard over the last couple of days, the more convinced I've become that this package of proposals is exactly what we need.”
Cooper said that although market research is not explicitly mentioned in the proposal, it would not fall under the activities the list aims to prevent. “We're interested in people who create behavioural records or profiles to target marketing to the individuals whose records and profiles they have. A research firm that tracks trends is not providing that sort of information to an advertiser or distributor,” he said.
There could, however, be some implications for research in broader proposals for more prominent disclosures, independent auditing of behavioural tracking, and a new definition of ‘personally identifiable information'.
Following discussions with the FTC, Cooper said the next step will be to “reconnoitre and look at ways to convince the agency to adopt.”
Author: Robert Bain