A US senator has introduced a privacy bill that would prevent websites from following the online behavior of users who want to opt out of such tracking. Dubbed the Do-Not-Track Online Act of 2011 (PDF here), the measure would give the Federal Trade Commission authority to draft specific rules about how and when consumers could …
What a surprise
The advertising giant is against user privacy options because they could affect revenue!
This won't get through I assume, but it would be nice. At the moment a combination of Better Privacy, Adblock Plus and Cookie Monster for firefox stop most of the client-side tracking that I don't like, but there's nothing to stop trackers from just using my IP address or using the more nefarious 'evercookie' methods.
Having a legal requirement to leave me the hell alone would be good. Having tracking as "opt-in" instead of the usual "opt-out" would be even better, but that'll never happen in a million years!
Should be Opt In not Opt Out
but then who would gain?
I'm a bit puzzled about the 'muddled' sub-title - the article doesn't indicate why, and the text of the bill itself doesn't seem muddled - if anything it is a lot clearer than similar UK Bills/Acts. The bill doesn't say how it would work, but then you wouldn't expect the people behind it to be technically capable to do define it. The bill does, though, define whose responsibility it is to nail down the details.
Even if it does turn out to be weak, I think it is good to have at least one attempt to enforce respect for users on the books - maybe just a brick in a wall.
It should be opt-in
I really don't understand why it couldn't be a opt-in system where the user has the freedom of not being tracked until he/she choses to be tracked by a website. That would be more user-friendly then what they want to implement now.
It can't be opt-in
Because then the trackers and advertisers would instantly have every person suddenly opted out. The user is a commodity and while not that many people will bother to opt-out, almost nobody is going to opt in. The advertisers would argue that most people are fine with being tracked (never mind that most people don't know about it....) and that it unfairly burdens them or some such thing.
Basically there's a lot of money in it, and if you start to take that away from big advertising firms like Google, you'll suddenly see them get very, very interested in buying their own politicians and laws.
In a word...
I don't really care, at all, in the slightest, if "Opt-in" inconveniences or upsets any advertising company or associated enterprise. It will start to put them back on a fairer footing with print media. I opt-in to advertising in magazines. I opt-in to advertising on television. why should I not have the right to opt in to advertising and, even more importantly, tracking on the internet and mobile devices.
If the companies then set out to buy political influence we will know them for exactly what they are.
Look at like if you are going to a shopping mall or something. I think in such a case you wouldn't like it if someone follows you around and monitors everything you do there... Privacy is not a commodity and shouldn't been given up just to make money with it.
I directly support the "opt-in" methodolgy. But here (for those asking) are the arguments against:
1. The current "web" economy heavily relies on it. If something like "opt-in" legislation is put forward, then that will have a negative impact on the web economy and "cost jobs" (while in reality, it does not have to) in this "tough economic landscape". No politician in the US will openly vote to reduce any jobs but "government jobs", and will certainly not vote against the interests of the big tech companies.
2. Opt-out is much more palatable because the companies can (claim "an existing relationship" - aka Zuckerberg), claim there was a past relationship and it is an oversight, or simply make them hide the data better. Opt-in presumably causes them to wipe the slate and start over (like that would really happen).
3. It creates the need for more FTC inspection and enforcement jobs (presumably growing the budget).
4. The legislation is likely to also cause an outcry and dry-up of lots of free (think Facebook) functionaltiy and entertainment currently available on the "web". I am fine with that, but the sheer number of clueless/thoughtless FB sheeple can easily be stampeded to write their elected officials in Washington to express their outrage over gaining their privacy in exchange for giving up Farmville or microblogging their family and friends constantly about any little thing that happens to them. You can't very well expect people to value something that they don't think about all that often over something that is the sole source of happiness and satisfaction in their otherwise insignificant and pointless lives.
I would also state that any legislation passed will likely be "token", "unfunded", and full of loopholes. Companies will also begin to trick citizens into accepting/opting in to tracking agreements in a wide variety of ways, including trojans and zombie mass-acceptors if need be.