NEWS9 February 2011

‘Do not track’ bill heading for the House this week – report

Government North America

US— A bill that paves the way for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to implement a ‘do not track’ programme for people wishing to opt out of behaviourally targeted advertising could be introduced this week.

Congressional newspaper The Hill cited an aide to Republican House representative Jackie Speier as saying a proposal was in the works.

In December the FTC declared its support for the development of a ‘do not track’ system allowing people to use their web browser settings to opt out of having their online activity monitored for ad targeting purposes.

The FTC criticised advertising industry efforts to address privacy concerns through self regulation as “too slow” and for failing to provide “adequate and meaningful protection”.

‘Do not track’, the FTC said, would “balance the privacy interests of consumers with innovation that relies on consumer information”.

Browser developers Microsoft and Mozilla have already committed to introducing ‘do not track’ options in the user settings of their next releases of Internet Explorer and Firefox, however advertising trade body the Interactive Advertising Bureau has declared ‘do not track’ to be an unworkable idea.

“The internet is comprised of millions of interconnected websites, networks and computers – a literal ecosystem, all built upon the flow of different types of data,” the bureau said. “You cannot turn off data sharing online and, if you could, consumers would encounter a severely diminished experience.”