More “fun” for you and your Internet lawyer. Three of the main Web browsers (IE Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome) are jumping ahead of the U.S. federal government by adding “do-not-track” options so that you can surf the Internet without having your browsing habits tracked.
Nice in concept but that won’t be enough for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) because of remaining privacy issues.
The do-not-track functions depend upon those doing targeted online advertising actually cooperating with the browser features voluntarily. If it’s profitable to track surfing behavior and monetize the data through targeted advertising why would you stop doing it?
The FTC’s answer is heading in the direction of making it unprofitable by new regulations. When new regs are issued, have your Internet lawyer explain them to you.
Expect tracking without transparency and informed consent to become defined as a deceptive trade practice that the FTC will go after in court to stop.
How “tracking” is defined will determine how many Internet entrepreneurs will be affected. If your website host counts unique visitors using a program like AWStats, will that be considered tracking? Or will it require something more robust like Google’s DoubleClick Dart Tracking Cookie? What about rogue packet sniffing for data mining?
Whatever is covered, expect the new regs to require additional disclosures to your website visitors and clients.
Will keep top of this issue and write more about it as the FTC acts.
To your online success!
-Mike the Internet Lawyer