FTC Says Don't Track Me Bro....On The Internet - The UpStream

FTC Says Don't Track Me Bro....On The Internet

posted Sunday Dec 5, 2010 by Jon Wurm

FTC Says Don't Track Me Bro....On The Internet

The FTC is getting paranoid about the lack of uniformity pertaining to privacy rules and information tacking on the Internet. Essentially, they want the industry to set standards in place that allow more simplified privacy policies and simple methods for people to opt out of having their journey through the interwebz documented like a National Geographic special.

A normal person might think it's odd that the FTC wants to use "cookies" as a "one stop shop" for people to relay their choices but the FTC doesn't. In fact, it is their recommendation to solve the problem. FTC Chair Jon Leibowitz gives his perspective below,

A 'do not track' browser setting would serve as an easy one stop shop for consumers to express their choices, rather than on a company-by-company basis.

Hit the break to find out if you have a say in all of this.

The good news is that the FTC has opened the proposal up for public opinion on questions like, "How should this mechanism be offered and promoted?" As well as, "What is the likely impact if large numbers of consumers opt out?" Probably the question to be answered first and foremost however is, "What happens if the private sector does not do anything about this?"

The FTC's current position says that there is much bipartisan support for legislation to be introduced should the industry not handle things. As stated by Leibowitz,

From my perspective, and I'm speaking for myself, a legislative solution will surely be needed if industry doesn't step up to the plate. Keep in mind that privacy protection is the most bipartisan of issues. It's not just Senator Rockefeller holding hearings on privacy legislation, it's Senator Thune (R-SD), it's Joe Barton (R-TX), it's Henry Waxman (D-CA). It is very bipartisan.

It looks like a catch-22 for the industry as they may have to balance their interests with those of the FTC and consumers or run the risk of the FTC bringing down the hammer. I'm hoping the industry does make an effort to appease the FTC since they seem to be more in tune with the Internet. What do you all think? Is this even necessary and if so, how should it be handled?

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