Washington – The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on
Wednesday proposed the creation of a "do not track" list for
consumers, which would by default opt consumers out of having their Web surfing
habits tracked to target advertisements. Consumers would then have to
proactively sign on to permit their Web surfing to be tracked.
The FTC also
called for websites to provide more prominent, easier to understand privacy
policies than current legal boilerplates, and to provide consumers with
"reasonable" access to the data that has been collected on them.
In addition to policy recommendations, FTC chairman Jon
Leibowitz said the agency "will take action against companies that cross the line
with consumer data and violate consumers’ privacy — especially when children
and teens are involved."
"I do not think that under the F.T.C.’s existing
authority we could mandate unilaterally a system of ‘do not track,’" said
David Vladek, director of the FTC’s bureau of consumer protection, according to
The New York Times.
"There are ways we could coax, cajole and charm
industry in that direction…If the decision was made by Congress that ‘do not
track’ should be put in place immediately, it would take an act of
The U.S. House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer
Protection is expected to address the matter at a hearing on Thursday.