The W3C working group on “Do Not Track” continues to struggle to define the term in a way that outlines what data can be collected without explicit permission of the individual, and what uses may be made of that data. Multiple iterative drafts of a policy for online behavior have circulated among committee members. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) participates in this committee, and its representative recently suggested another amendment to the definition of permitted uses, specifically to include “marketing” as a default permitted use, justified as a core component of American business practice, “as American as apple pie.”
According to columnist Ed Bott, writing for zdNet:
“So there you have it. If you oppose online tracking, you’re un-American and you hate democracy. Also, the fact that big corporations can collect and collate personal data about you without your permission is a cornerstone of civil society, you communist.
Did I mention that the DMA is also one of the prime movers behind the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA)? They’d prefer to regulate themselves, thank you very much.”
Personal online privacy remains an elusive goal in the United States. Most of Europe, meanwhile, have become more protective of individual rights. For EU businesses hosting websites, the intention to collect data has to be disclosed and permission granted by the user, and the intention to place cookies must also be disclosed, and permission similarly granted by the user. In the United States, the direct marketing lobby continues to undermine every effort to preserve any shred of personal privacy for Americans. Ed Botts’ commentary successfully outlines the lines of battle.
Click here to read more from zdNet.