CONSUMERS AND INDUSTRY WIN WITH DO-‐NOT-‐TRACK
March 11, 2013
We are some of the nation’s most active and respected consumer and
privacy organizations. We advocate for a simple Do-‐Not-‐Track
(DNT) mechanism that allows individuals to decide when, whether, and
how they will be tracked online, no matter what kind of technology or
device they use.
We strongly support the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) ongoing
efforts to develop standards for how DNT should work. We call on the
participants to agree to a standard based on respect for individuals’
fundamental privacy rights.
We applaud companies, like Microsoft and Mozilla, that have recently
taken steps to meet the public demand for DNT. Microsoft has taken the
boldest action so far by designating DNT “on” by default in
Internet Explorer 10. However, at present DNT is neither a law nor a
standard. So despite this good work, it’s up to those doing the
tracking to decide whether or how they will honor consumer preferences.
Some trackers say that they will outright ignore DNT preferences
expressed by consumers using browsers that provide DNT “on” by
default, such as IE 10, because they say this expresses the browser
maker’s choice, not the consumer’s choice. In other words, even if
consumers want DNT “on”—and find it convenient that it’s
already turned “on”—these trackers will blatantly and willfully
ignore it. This stance threatens the promise of DNT as a way to
balance our right to privacy with commercial interests.
Consumers, businesses, and others make the Internet a useful and
welcome place to talk, to share, to learn, and to engage in commerce.
When consumers object to online tracking, those objections must be
respected. It’s good for consumers and it’s good for business.
American Civil Liberties Union
Bob Gellman, Privacy Consultant
Consumer Federation of America
Electronic Frontier Foundation
National Consumers League
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse