Do Not Track May Be Back on Track
In November 2012, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) named FPF Senior Fellow Peter Swire as co-chair of the W3C’s Tracking Protection Working Group, a multistakeholder group working to create a meaningful Do-Not-Track (DNT) mechanism. At the time that Peter was appointed, the DNT negotiations were described by the New York Times as having “devolved into acrimonious discussions, name calling, and witch hunts.” Industry representatives were accusing privacy advocates of attempting to undermine the online advertising ecosystem, and advocates were accusing industry of acting in bad faith.
This week, Peter wrote a blog post reporting that the working group has developed a roadmap that may lead to the public release of a DNT proposal by summertime. Stakeholders have agreed on four criteria for a DNT standard: 1) it must be created through the W3C; 2) it must be consistent with the working group’s charter (which includes expectations for technical specifications and compliance mechanisms); 3) the standard should be a significant change from the current DNT situation; and 4) the working group must be able to explain why a user’s choice to activate DNT would reduce tracking.