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FTC Gets Serious About ‘Do Not Track’ Privacy Protections

FTC Gets Serious About ‘Do Not Track’ Privacy Protections


The Federal Trade Commission released a 72 page final report that establishes the best practices for protecting consumer privacy data in the digital age. The report mirrors many of the provisions of the “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” released earlier by the White House and represents the first serious efforts at striking a balance in online consumer privacy protection related to web usage. The report offers best practices designed to give consumers more control and more choice over the information that is collected about them online and how it is used, including a Do Not Track option.

Do Not Track systems allow people to opt out of third-party tracking. The report aims for the development of a uniform Do Not Track browser standard and is hoping industry will help craft that standard. If it doesn’t happen though, the FTC made it clear it would push for a Do Not Track bill from Congress.

The report was released amid some controversy as not everyone at the FTC supports the idea of limiting the ability of private companies to collect consumer information based off of personal computer usage. FTC Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch voted against the final report. Rosch, a Republican, expressed skepticism about the industry’s willingness to enact Do Not Track, suggesting firms will simply use it as an opportunity to act opportunistically rather than in the best interests of consumers.

The issue is one that will not be going away anytime soon, especially as employers demand greater and greater access to candidate login information and accounts. But, if after this report, the FTC and industry stakeholders can’t come together and craft expansive protections for consumers under Do Not Track we can expect to see Congress taking up the fight after the election.


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6:37PM PST on Jan 27, 2014

Even if this were enacted, there are so many rogue hackers and trackers, including possible government trackers that don't need to notify anyone, follow due process or even have a cause, that this is rather a ridiculous parody.

7:08PM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

Another farce. They are busy building a huge facility to track everyone in the country so what's this? A red herring, while the big stuff is put in place?

See article in AlterNet "Exposed" Massive New Spy Center Built to Track Your Emails and Phone Calls" by Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh and James Bamford.

4:14PM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

what privacy? where do we have it? I have enlarge my scrip size to remove the flashing, rotating adds along side of every thing I go to. I oped out of tracking from goggle. I don't know if it worked or not...still have the ads.
The NDAA capped the lack of privacy.....Government is allowed to do what ever it is inclined to do at any time...freedom ... privacy, it is all gone now.

11:40AM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

About time. Now get it done.

9:05AM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

I am happy to see a government agency finally being concerned about our privacy. I hope that this is really true or just a token attempt to make us feel more secure?

7:32AM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

Having no choice makes net users feel like cattle... and look for other services elsewhere. Big companies really have to change their way of marketing (or *learn* about marketing for some of them!).

Thanks for the post.

7:31AM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

It is so not easy to opt out. Tiny words that are just about hidden on the page and everyone is positioned somewhere else.

Until the FCC mandates a point size of type and specific location on emails if nothing else, this older folk is still having problems!

7:19AM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

To Michael M.
Uh... we already have that lawless law. Our govt. can and does spy on us whenever they damn well please. You know, the lesser of two evils is still evil. That's sort of how I view our present commander in chief, thumb in the neutral position.

There is some software out there that can help to keep you invisible while shopping online and I believe it's called Do Not Track. Check it out. It works silently in the background but it can let you know if others are trying to track you if you want it to.

7:19AM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

What a joke! Does this apply to the NSA, which is recording ALL our phone calls, texts, browsing, and emails, to use in the future, however they please?

I didn't think so.

Our two corporate-funded parties have saddled us with a police state. Yet another reason I vote Green Party.

7:16AM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

What a joke! Does this apply to the NSA, which is recording ALL our phone calls, texts, browsing, and emails, to use in the future, however they please?

I didn't think so.

Our two corporate-funded parties have saddled us with a police state. Yet another reason I vote Green Party.

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