More Do Not Track Drama

Casey BartoIt hasn’t even been three weeks since I last reported on the Do Not Track stalemate, and there’s been yet another blow to the stagnate proposal. The latest hit comes in the form of the resignation of Jonathan Mayer from the Tracking Protection Working Group.
Apparently Mayer, who was instrumental in getting Firefox to stop accepting 3rd party cookies, got fed up with the endless feet dragging done by the W3C.

He wrote in his resignation email:

“We first met to discuss Do Not Track over 2 years ago. We have now held 10 in-person meetings and 78 conference calls. We have exchanged 7,148 emails. And those boggling figures reflect just the official fora.

“The group remains at an impasse. We have sharpened issues, and we have made some progress on low-hanging fruit. But we still have not resolved our longstanding key disagreements, including: What information can websites collect, retain, and use? What sorts of user interfaces and defaults are compliant, and can websites ignore noncompliant browsers?

“Our Last Call deadline is July 2013. That due date was initially January 2012. Then April 2012. Then June 2012. Then October 2012. We are 18 months behind schedule, with no end in sight.”

The Last Call deadline has come and gone with no news on any sort of agreement or anything close to progress. It looks like this is going to drag on for many more months and, with the way things have gone, maybe even years.

Meanwhile (and not surprisingly), privacy analysts say browsers are half-heartedly attacking Do Not Track. (I can attest to this as I’ve activated the Do Not Track option on my browser just to see what happens, but more on that in a future post.)

A big complaint among analysts and some privacy advocates is that the Do Not Track options in most browsers are too difficult to locate, forcing users to expand menus or unnecessarily search for the option.

How do you think Mayer’s exit will affect the Do Not Track process? Will there be an agreement anytime soon?

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