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Regulators: Will Industry Do-Not-Track Plans Be Enough?

ONLINE PRIVACY—U.S.

February 11, 2011

Reports on Mozilla's launch this week of a do-not-track feature for its Firefox browser and plans coming forward from Google and Microsoft for their online browsers are raising questions as to whether such industry-created features will be enough to assuage U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) concerns about consumer privacy. The do-not-track features are being unveiled in response to calls by the FTC for companies to provide comprehensive opt-out tools to Internet users who do not want their online activities followed for advertising purposes. Mozilla Privacy Lead Alex Fowler explained that the feature is less complex and more persistent than other techniques. However, the report raises concerns about mechanisms that only allow users to opt out of being tracked by companies that enable the do-not-track feature, suggesting, "In order to satisfy the FTC, therefore, some form of monitoring and enforcement would likely be required." Editor's note: Hear more from Mozilla's Alex Fowler in the session "EU Cookies Under Siege" at the IAPP Global Privacy Summit 2011 in March.
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