Do Not Track Update – September 2013

Casey BartoIn my last Do Not Track post, I mentioned the resignation of Jonathan Mayer from the Track Protection Working Group. Mayer’s resignation comes after years of a standstill at the W3C.
The end of August saw yet another key resignation from the group – that of Peter Swire. Swire, the co-chair of the group resigned to take a position with President Obama’s intelligence review panel. Sounding less frustrated than Mayer in his resignation email, Swire wrote:

“Since last November, I have tried to work diligently with you to meet the goals of the working group,” Swire wrote. “W3C has been a unique forum for bringing together the diverse perspectives on how commercial actors collect and use personal information on the Internet for advertising and other purposes. We have clarified the key issues, and I hope all stakeholders will continue your efforts to create a resolution that works well for individual users and a better Internet generally.”

What this means for the future of the W3C is uncertain, according to AdWeek. However, FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez has said she’s still hopeful the group can come to some kind of agreement.

In other Do Not Track news, it seems California has grown impatient waiting for some kind Do Not Track mandate and has gone ahead and passed its own law. At the end of last month the California Senate passed an amendment to “California Online Privacy Protection Act that will require commercial websites and services that collect personal data to disclose how they respond to Do Not Track signals from Web browsers,” according to AdWeek.

The new bill doesn’t prohibit tracking, but instead gives websites 30 days to spell out their privacy practices if they haven’t already done so. Those that haven’t spelled out their privacy practices will also receive a warning, but there’s no mention on what would happen if a website failed to disclose privacy practices after 30 days.

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