A Preliminary FTC Staff Report on "Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers"
I strongly support the implementation of a "Do Not Track" mechanism. I am concerned about my privacy and currently use various cumbersome ways to prevent or limit tracking and compiling of personal profiles by advertising, research and other data-collecting companies. This includes managing cookie blacklists via plug-ins, changing browser setting to delete cookies on closing, and manually deleting cookies, esp. Flash cookies which are stored outside of the browser. I would love to have an easier way to accomplish this. Also, I do not buy the argument of the ad industry that the current form of unsolicited tracking is necessary to improve user experience. For example the practice of retargeting across different sites has little appeal to me as the end user and only makes me feel like I am given the hard-sell to buy things I don't really need. Even if this approach may occasionally succeed in persuading some people to purchase things, it is questionable who derives the greater benefit from it. I'd argue it's not the user who is probably just as well off buying an easy-to-find alternative (or perhaps even not buying at all). Finally, the ad industry claims the profiles they compile are not personally identifiable, but with the rise of particularly Facebook, which is integrated into almost every commercial 3rd-party site via widgets, Like buttons etc., it is easy to link a browser profile to a Facebook ID and hence to a specific personal identity. I would like to prevent this unless I specifically opt in to such practices.