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W3C Publishes Draft “Do-Not-Track” Standards

Posted in Privacy Law

After a flurry of “Do-Not-Track” announcements and proposals early this year by the IETF, CDT, Microsoft and Mozilla, in response to the FTC’s release of its December 2010 draft privacy framework, which we covered in detail, the W3C’s Tracking Protection Working Group recently released the second draft of its Do-Not-Track standards in two parts: a Tracking Preference Expression (DNT) and a Tracking Compliance and Scope Specification.

The W3C standard, which remains very much a preliminary work in progress, included input from Facebook, Microsoft, Mozilla, Google and others, and would require companies to obtain “affirmative, informed consent” in order to follow the web-surfing habits of uses who adopted the “Do-Not-Track” tools.  As the working group notes the draft “does not represent working group consensus by any stretch of the imagination, though an attempt has been made to highlight areas where issues have been identified and present multiple alternatives if they have been discussed.”

Nevertheless, with the finalized Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers FTC  report expected to be released in the coming month, the W3C’s DNT standards will likely take on new importance in 2012.

To discuss the W3C’s DNT mechanisms, the FTC report or the potential impact on your online operations feel free to contact me or any of the attorneys at the InfoLawGroup.