Potential good news for those who only like their cookies with milk.

From the Washington Post:

The Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday recommended creating a do-not-track system that would prevent Web sites from collecting unauthorized consumer data, part of a widely anticipated agency report on improving Internet privacy.

The report “also calls for Web sites to disclose more about the information they gather on users, including what has been collected, how it is used and how long it is stored.” Beyond that, it wants consumers to have more ways to opt out of data collection efforts.

Needless to say, marketers are less than pleased – and they’re not the only ones.

From PC World:

A universal do-not-track tool, endorsed by the FTC in a report focused on online privacy released Wednesday, could make online targeted advertising less effective and could slow the growth of e-commerce, one of the few bright spots in an otherwise stagnant U.S. economy, said Representative Ed Whitfield, a Kentucky Republican, during a hearing of the Consumer Protection Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee.

Consumers would likely rather get relevant ads than irrelevant ones, he said. “The question is, is the government really the entity to make that decision?” Whitfield added. “Would an [online] advertising model be sustainable in the absence of marketers’ ability to track?”

If this actually would remove marketers’ ability to track, which PC Magazine says is not a foregone conclusion:

At this point, the FTC plan is just a proposal and not enforceable. The agency is asking for stakeholders to submit comments on the plan by January, and it will issue a revised proposal sometime next year. The FTC said its ideas could be used as best practices as Congress considers online privacy legislation . . .

All well and good, except most often in Washington, best practices turn out to be least practiced.


John R. Carroll, who also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town, is an NPR media analyst and mass communication professor at Boston University.
John R. Carroll has 296 post(s) on Sneak Adtack