Sharp Differences Remain Between Companies and Advocates on Do-Not-Track


Online companies on Thursday reached broad agreements with privacy activists and government regulators on limiting collection of customer information. But sharp differences remain between U.S. regulators–who have sided with privacy advocates–and corporations.
The purpose of the three day meeting in Washington, D.C., organized by the standard setting World Wide Web Consortium, was to help establish a Do-Not-Track button that would allow consumers to prevent marketers from monitoring their online activities. The meeting occurred less than two months after Obama administration presented a “Privacy Bill of Rights,” which would include a Do-Not-Track rule. And companies hope the Do-Not-Track mechanism will satisfy European Union privacy laws set to come into effect this summer.
Corporations, regulators and advocates, all of whom attended the meeting, agreed that businesses should be allowed to record information taken from of their own customers, even if those users opted out. And companies agreed with privacy advocates that advertisers should not be allowed to collect most data on opted-out customers passing through a site, according to participants and documents created at the meeting.
“Everyone agrees on the principles here,” Aleecia McDonald, co-chair of the Do-Not-Track  committee hosted by W3C,. “Where we disagree are on the mechanics.”
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