Thursday, November 29, 2012

Do Not Track Mediator Appointed

In an international effort to give consumers control over collection of their online data, law professor Peter Swire was named mediator by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The international group is developing standards that allow Internet users to keep their online activities private from advertisers. Coming up with a global standard for “Do Not Track,” a computer browser setting permitting users to signal they don't want their browsing activities tracked for marketing purposes, is proving tough amidst a fight between industry execs and privacy advocates. Parties on both sides welcomed the move, but remain doubtful Swire could bring opponents to agreement, especially at a time when some are questioning whether the W3C is the appropriate forum. It is reported that Swire, former chief counselor for privacy at the Office of Management and Budget, hopes to strike a balance palatable to both sides and views the effort as creating the digital equivalent of the Do Not Call list. Even as negotiations continue, newer versions of browsers such as Internet Explorer and Chrome already provide Do Not Track settings for their users. However, in the absence of accepted global standards, ad networks and data brokers are not yet honoring the browser tracking flags. See story at