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Tracking You Anyway
By: Jessica Cherok
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The ad industry has some interesting ideas on how to handle Do Not Track (DNT). That is, if by interesting, you mean flawed.

When Internet Explorer first announced it would default its browser’s DNT setting to be on, the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) said they wouldn’t require companies to listen. The DAA claimed that the default-on setting would hinder user choice, not to mention cripple the profitability of the ad industry. What remained unclear is how the DAA would know if the browser was defaulted to DNT or if it was set by the user. Or if that even mattered, since they had pledged to ignore the signal anyway.

Now, the DAA has proposed something equally ridiculous — to continue to track users' Web activity, regardless of DNT, so they can continue online behavioral advertising. People who want to opt out would need to click special opt-out links within companies’ privacy policies.

Basically, the DAA wants you to opt out of tracking at every place instead of using a singular place to opt out from all tracking. Sound cumbersome? It would be, if you even remembered to do it. And if you deleted your cookies, the opt-out from the individual sites would be lost, and you’d have to start all over.

Most perplexing of the DAA’s proposed ideas has to do with what they call “good data hygiene.” According to the DAA, this could include not collecting the specific URL, but information about the page.

That would be like giving a detailed description of a person, but never mentioning their name. It really amounts to the same thing.

   

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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