The Federal Trade Commission’s new chairwoman doesn’t trust advertising companies to play by the honor system. AdWeek reports that FTC chair Edith Ramirez said this week that “consumers await a functioning Do Not Track system, which is long overdue,” thus implying that the current Do Not Track system is inadequate. Instead, Ramirez said that web users needed “a persistent Do Not Track mechanism that allows consumers to stop control of data across all sites, and not just for targeting ads.” Both Google and the Digital Advertising Alliance last year agreed to adhere to a Do Not Track system that lets users restrict the data that websites can collect about them through cookies. However, the DAA drew some significant criticism last year when it announced that its members would not honor the Do Not Track settings of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser because it made Do Not Track the default option for users.
It was recently revealed that Google and a number of advertisers had found a way to bypass some privacy features in modern web browsers, allowing them to forgo third-party cookie policies and serve targeted ads regardless of a user’s privacy settings. The report caused a stir among privacy advocates and consumers alike, and it prompted Google and other companies to agree to honor browsers’ do-not-track policy by the end of the year. Some users may not want to wait up to nine months to know they’re not being tracked, however, and Google has a solution for privacy-conscious web users who don’t want to be followed. Read on for more. More →
A coalition of Internet giants has agreed to support a “do-not-track” button that can be embedded in most Web browsers. The Digital Advertising Alliance, which includes Internet heavy weight Google, represents over 400 companies and will work to begin adopting and honoring the system within nine months, reports The Wall Street Journal. The feature, which is already implemented in Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari, will restrict the data that websites can collect about a user through cookies when activated. Even people who clicked on the button within FireFox, IE or Safari, were still being tracked, however, because advertisers and tracking companies hadn’t agreed to honor the system. Google is expected to update its Chrome Web browser by the end of the year to include a do-not-track button. More →