Rockefeller: Consumer Privacy Self-Regulation Has Failed
Tells FTC to keep working with W3C on global, voluntary do-not-track standards
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 10/3/2012 10:30:02 AMtold FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz in a letter Wednesday that "self-regulation for the purposes of consumer privacy protection has failed" and the FTC should work with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) on voluntary do-not-track (DNT) standards.
The W3C is meeting this week in Amsterdam to work on voluntary DNT standards. Some have expressed concerns about the U.S. signing on to global do-not-track standards, but Rockefeller does not share those concerns, and points out that the standards are voluntary.
Rockefeller conceded that many browser companies were voluntarily featuring DNT functionality, but there was no legal obligation for online companies to honor those DNT requests and stop collecting online info. He also pointed to the Digital Advertising Alliance pledge to honor DNT, but said there were exceptions that allowed for the collection and use of personal info for "product development" and "market research."
Rockefeller has introduced Do Not Track legislation, which would give the FTC more authority to enforce a DNT regime.
"I have long expressed skepticism that private companies are capable of collectively producing and abiding by meaningful standards that protect consumers," he said. "If the advertising industry cannot be coaxed into living up to its commitment and adopting robust voluntary DNT standards, I believe it will only highlight the need for Congress to act..."
The Digital Advertising Alliance, which includes the major advertising associations, has committed to a browser-based do-not-track option that allows Web users to opt out of behavioral advertising and would be respected across those participating in DAA's self-regulatory program, which DAA execs have said is about 90% of businesses.
The browser-based option is still an opt-out, rather than opt-in mechanism, for Web surfers. But those who opted out would be preventing "most" data that would otherwise be collected.
No related content found.
Most Popular Pages
No Top Articles