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Key privacy groups release statement of support for Do-Not-Track

CONSUMERS AND INDUSTRY WIN WITH DO-NOT-TRACK

March 11, 2013

Contact: Michelle De Mooy, 301-244-5081

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 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.


Signed,

American Civil Liberties Union
Bob Gellman, Privacy Consultant
Consumer Action
Consumer Federation of America
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Electronic Privacy Information Center
National Consumers League
Patient Privacy Rights
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse

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