The Do Not Track Option: Giving Consumers a Choice
Among the recommendations in the FTC’s 2010 preliminary staff report is a proposal that consumers be given a simple “Do Not Track” mechanism that would allow them to choose whether they want to allow websites to collect information about their Internet activity and use it to deliver targeted advertisements and for other purposes. The report recommends a mechanism that would be practical, and would probably involve the placement of a persistent setting, similar to a cookie, on the consumer’s browser signaling the consumer’s choices. Unlike the FTC’s Do Not Call Registry, which allows consumers to opt out of receiving most telemarketing calls, the Do Not Track mechanism would not require the government to compile a list of numbers. The Commission has not voted yet on whether to support this idea, and it is still considering public comments on the report.