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E.U. Commissioner Makes Clear, Do-Not-Track Must Be 'Rich and Meaningful'

 12:57 pm on Oct 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

European commissioner Neelie Kroes has accused members of the online industry of watering down a standard designed to protect consumers' privacy on the web.

Websites are under pressure to allow consumers much greater control over how they are tracked online.

But work undertaken by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to create a Do Not Track (DNT) standard was "not going to plan", said Ms Kroes.

E.U. Commissioner Makes Clear, Do-Not-Track Must Be 'Rich and Meaningful' [bbc.co.uk]
In a speech at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels, Ms Kroes, vice president for the digital agenda commission, said: "I said it in January, loud and clear. But, for the avoidance of doubt, I will say it again today, the DNT standard must be rich and meaningful enough to make a difference when it comes to protecting people's privacy."



 3:39 pm on Oct 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

She is concerned by suggestions that DNT might not be set as a default.

"The commission services were very clear on this point in their letter to the W3C - at installation or first use, users must be informed about the importance of their DNT choice," she said.

I'm honestly a little bit confused (maybe I'm just tired), but is she saying having DNT on by default is a good idea or a bad idea?


 5:57 pm on Oct 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Typical example of what happens when technology becomes legislated.

Just wait until the server response codes become legally codified <shudders>.


 11:03 pm on Oct 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

So they want to fine companies thousands of dollars for placing a cookie in your browser without consent... which will basically just lead to everybody having to check some annoying acknowledgment every time they enter a site... But blatant scam artists and fraudsters that roam the internet, virtually unchallenged... most governments seem like they couldn't care less about.


 12:03 am on Oct 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

As a strong advocate of online privacy even I know cookies are very often a necessity for interactive functionality. I don't have any problem allowing sites to feed me cookies as long as it's for their own productivity because my browser eats them anyway when I close it. I don't even care if they notify me or not because I know that it is a widespread basic functionality. But things really start getting out of hand when they get abused such as with 3rd party cookies (I block them) and flash super cookies (I shred them even before closing my browser).

As is often the case in many situations a few bad apples will spoil an otherwise useful technology. Unfortunately it sometimes becomes necessary for legislators to implement controls to protect people from those who are not able to control their own excessive tracking habits. And as is typically the case, such as the recent flack that MSFT has taken for enabling "do not track" by default in IE (10?), it's the marketers that are screaming the loudest.

Heck even Gary Kovacs the CEO of the Mozilla Corporation (the Firefox people) has fired a shot across the bow of the trackers. Once again I need to refer to TED.com to hopefully bring awareness to how serious an issue this has become. The video presentation is 6:40 long [ted.com...] He gives a very calm and sensible presentation about it to bring more awareness to the general public about what is happening without their consent.


 6:52 am on Oct 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

"The commission services were very clear on this point in their letter to the W3C - at installation or first use, users must be informed about the importance of their DNT choice," she said.

Sounds to me that she does not agree with IE10 having DNT default on, and not mentioning it. She's saying everyone must be made aware of DNT when using a browser, and must make an informed choice whether or not to put it on.

If DNT becomes some useless, watered-down standard, chances are that the EU will enforce the more aggressive user choice that is legislation in the Netherlands now. Here, websites must ask users explicit permission to use tracking. No DNT is allowed for that, yet, but it would be a good thing if it will be.

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