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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Do Not Track List a Cop Out

Consumer and privacy groups want the FTC to enable consumers to sign up to a list that would prevent advertisers and web publishers to use cookies to track their travels.

While more disclosure and better technical solutions are needed, this proposal would stifle innovation and reduce consumers access to free content. A national call list would be hard to manage and limit advertisers' ability to introduce innovative programs.

Ad networks and publishers should develop standards that make it easy to opt out of tracking and make it very visible on their websites. Premium content could be blocked from people who don't want their movements to be tracked, which is a fair exchanged.
Standards so that browsers can work better with cookies are needed because today's practice of either barring all cookies -- some which can be helpful to consumers -- or constantly deleting cookies -- is too convoluted.

AOL has announced new technology that looks like a step in the right direction.

Targeted ads give consumers more of what they want. Getting the FTC involved would result in more generic ads, furthering consumers frustration and hurting the development of free content.

The threat of FTC action should be enough for the ad industry to work together on open standards and make it easier to opt out.

By John Gartner at 08:18 AM | Comments (0)

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