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.


Related Links:
(N.Y. Times)


  1. Actually, the content of the article is not quite correct. The FTC’s report does not propose a “list” – it proposes the use of technology to allow consumers to opt out of collection of information in a persistent manner (as the chief technologist said in the presser yesterday, “one that sticks”). There would not be a “Do-Not-Track list” like the Do-Not-Call list, it would be something that could be implemented from the consumer’s browser. And it would not just apply to targeted advertising – the proposal is that it apply to the actual collection of web surfing and browsing data. The FTC was clear to point out that this not the ONLY way to implement this idea – they are seeking comment on all of the report, including this.

  2. Like the UK’s ridiculous Digital Economy Act, this sounds like an idea put together without consulting anyone with any knowledge of how the internet actually works.

    Would they expect sites to run a database query to check that the person’s IP is not on the list? Who would host this list – the government? What about sites hosted in other countries? What about people without a static IP?

  3. Good post. I’m been looking for topics as interesting as this.
    Very informative and information presented very well,
    i really liked reading your blog,I really feel that the tracking should be avoided from the consumer web surfing.
    this is good approach of the FTC.
    thanks for providing this information.

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  4. I’ve tried to stay out of this mess myself by not storing or tracking any of this kind of info, but implementing such a list could be a huge nightmare for companies like Google & Facebook that have already run with the idea.

    In general, users should have more control over how their personal data is being used and harvested, but in many respects they already do if they set up the proper browser and privacy settings. This might be fun to watch from the sidelines if it slows down and trips up some of the big players who were taking things too far…