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W3C Proposes Unified "Do Not Track" Privacy Standard 93

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the federal-legislation-due-in-2013 dept.
In his first submission, kierny writes "A W3C working group is crafting two standards, due out by summer 2012, to enable consumers to opt out of online tracking. Numerous big players are involved, including Google, Facebook, IBM, Mozilla, Microsoft, plus the Center for Democracy and Technology, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Federal Trade Commission. The first standard is Tracking Preference Expression, 'to define a standard for a how a browser can tell a website that a user wants more privacy,' says W3C working group co-chairman Dr. Matthias Schunter of IBM Research. 'So you send a signal, and you get a response from the website which tells you that the request has been honored.' The second standard, meanwhile, is the Tracking Compliance and Scope Specification, which details how websites should comply with Do Not Track preferences. But, don't expect Do Not Track to be active by default."
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W3C Proposes Unified "Do Not Track" Privacy Standard

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  • by bogidu (300637) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @10:24PM (#38069836)

    work as well as that 'Do Not Call' list.

  • Can we get one... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @10:27PM (#38069860)

    ...for use without a computer?

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @10:34PM (#38069906)

    And then the enforcement is lax.

    Enforcement by whom? This is just a standard by W3C, and it is a weak one at that. If you fail to produce compliant HTML, your web page might not render correctly; if you fail to follow this standard, nobody will notice.

    Privacy is not something that a standard can guarantee you.

  • by causality (777677) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @10:54PM (#38070050)

    And then the enforcement is lax.

    Enforcement by whom? This is just a standard by W3C, and it is a weak one at that. If you fail to produce compliant HTML, your web page might not render correctly; if you fail to follow this standard, nobody will notice. Privacy is not something that a standard can guarantee you.

    I hope this doesn't work out the same way anti-telemarketer devices did prior to the Do-Not-Call List.

    Anyone remember those? They used various tones and other tricks to try to convince the telemarketers' auto-dialers that the number was invalid or not in service. How did the telemarketers respond? Did they take the hint that they were not wanted and focus their efforts on people who might be more willing to entertain their sales pitches? No. They interpreted that as "those people must be using those devices because they are unassertive pushovers who have difficulty saying 'no', so if we can reach them we'll REALLY make some sales!"

    So they tried to find ways to circumvent those devices and after some time, the calls would get through anyway and I'd have to tell them to piss off myself. One favorite was to sound interested and then ask for their own personal telephone number. When they inevitably refused, I'd say something like "what's wrong, you don't like having strangers bother you at home?" While it's fun to hassle a professional pest (who during that job market could have chosen many other career paths), it was a nuisance that these idiots tried so hard to circumvent your express wishes.

    That was with the telephone network which is old technology that most people understand how to use. Is there any reason to think this won't be the case with Internet technology that most users don't have a clue about? It definitely tends to tilt the playing field in favor of the professional assholes. I for one will ignore this standard and probably won't even use it when it becomes supported on all major browsers. Instead, I'll stick to a combination of Adblock Plus, NoScript, cookie management, Redirect Remover, RefControl, a comprehensive hosts file, and several other measures I use.

    I mean think about it. Why leave the decision-making to the party that stands to gain from failing to respect my privacy? What goodwill have they shown in the past that suddenly makes them so trustworthy? Since when did the advertising industry suddenly start respecting privacy? I just don't buy it. It's an inherent conflict of interest.

  • Wrong prioroties (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@NOSpAM.barbara-hudson.com> on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @11:04PM (#38070106) Journal

    Not tracking should be the default, and you should have to opt in to tracking.

  • Evil bit? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @11:15PM (#38070186)

    RFC 3514 [ietf.org] was meant as a joke. This time it looks like people are discussing it for real. Let's go ahead and add a "Captain Justice" HTTP header that would command all the bad guys to immediately stop being evil.

  • Do Not Want (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @12:13AM (#38070482)

    Of course all the major companies want this feature. That way, they can code their websites to be completely disabled if they detect you don't allow tracking. It won't say disabled, but agree to this for a vastly improved experience. You'll be 'forced' to agree to them tracking you to view their site and now, in theory, they have your legal permission to do whatever with whatever they can get from you. Similar to agreeing to TOCs before using a website, but now it's transparent for all normal users (browsers will ship with tracking enabled by default). Thus every website can require tracking as it won't impede the user experience, except for those not wanted anyway.

  • Re:Noble ambition (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lvxferre (2470098) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @12:35AM (#38070572)
    It's interesting to Microsoft to kill tracking, since it's what their biggest rival - Google - uses for generate revenue, and MS's income comes from their [dubious quality] OS and office suite.

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