FTC Backs Moves To ‘Do-Not-Track’


Washington — It was hard to track
all the action on do-not-track last week.

The Federal Trade Commission last
week issued recommendations on updating
Internet-user privacy protections,
including backing some kind of do-nottrack
mechanism, preferably through a
browser function rather than a database
like the do-not-call list, which raises its
own data collection issues.

Do-not-track technology would let Web
surfers more easily opt out of the kind of
online tracking and data collection that,
among other things, allows behavioral
advertising to better target customers
and support all that free online content.

A House hearing last week raised the
prospect of legislation. But FTC chairman
Jon Leibowitz essentially said the
goal of the recommendations was to
light a fire under
industry self-regulatory

However, selfregulation
not moved far
and fast enough,
Leibowitz said,
and legislation
might be needed.

At The Cable
Show in May, he
encouraged cable firms to “self-regulate”
privacy controls in areas such as
online behavioral advertising. Under
fire after Hill hearings, operators two
years ago abandoned ad-tracking tests
with a firm called NebuAd that later
closed down.