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Consumer Watchdog Calls On FTC to Seek Do Not Track Legislation

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Consumer Watchdog Calls On FTC to Seek Do Not Track Legislation

Consumer Watchdog Wednesday called on the Federal Trade Commission to ask Congress to pass Do Not Track legislation because "the self-regulatory effort to design Do Not Track is virtually dead in the water."

In a letter to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, John M. Simpson, the nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group's Privacy Project Director wrote:

"Almost a year ago with great fanfare in the media you said a Do Not Track mechanism would be in place by the end of last year. You and your colleagues opted to rely on a self-regulatory process to implement Do Not Track, but alluded to the possibility of legislation if that process failed. Not surprisingly the self-regulatory effort to design Do Not Track is virtually dead in the water. After a year nothing has changed for the consumer. You tried to use the bully pulpit, but the advertising industry did not heed your call. The time for words has passed; if you expect Do Not Track to be implemented, the Commission must endorse Do Not Track legislation now."

Read Consumer Watchdog's letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrleibowitz013013.pdf

"As the Commission advocated in its report, Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change, a Do Not Track mechanism would offer people control over whether data about them was collected," Simpson wrote.

Consumer Watchdog noted that the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an Internet standards setting organization, has been trying to develop specifications about how the Do Not Track message would be sent and what the obligations would be for a website that receives it. "Talks have dragged on more than a year with weekly conference calls and six face-to-face meetings, while the W3C's Tracking Protection Working Group has grown to 102 members," Simpson wrote. "Another round of meetings is scheduled next month. Talks can at best be charitably described as stalled."

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