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Inside Privacy Updates on Developments in Global Privacy & Data Security from Covington & Burling LLP

Industry Do Not Track Efforts Remain Unresolved

Posted in Advertising & Marketing, International

The Worldwide Web Consortium’s Tracking Protection Working Group concluded a three-day international stakeholder meeting in Amsterdam on October 5 without reaching consensus on certain key issues concerning a global do-not-track standard.  There are reportedly three major unresolved questions:  (1) what the default setting should be—whether do not track should be turned on or off by default—and how the choice should be presented to the user; (2) whether service providers will qualify for first-party or third-party status under the standard; and (3) whether certain uses of data may be exempted from do-not-track controls, such as data collection for research purposes.

Meanwhile, European Union Commissioner Neelie Kroes warned last week that industry is taking too long to reach a consensus on do-not-track issues.  “Time is running out,” Commissioner Kroes remarked during a speech in Brussels on October 11.  “This is the last opportunity.  We must act quickly and make do-not-track available to all Internet users.”  Commissioner Kroes also addressed American companies’ do-not-track responsibilities in her remarks, stating that “if you want to track Europeans, you have to play by our rules.

Despite setbacks, the leader of the Amsterdam meetings has said that the group expects to publish a do-not-track standard in 2013.