Despite claims, opt-out cookies will not substantively protect you from behavioral targeted advertising because tracking your website viewing habits is simply to profitable for Internet advertisers. And new Internet laws to strengthen opt-out processes won’t be effective for that reason either.
When you opt out of behavioral targeted advertisements, what exactly does that really mean? How many advertising networks does the opt out affect? How long will opt-out cookie last before it expires or is destroyed? And if you opted out on your desktop computer, how is that to stop tracking you the next time you’re online using your laptop?
Although the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) provides a way for you to opt out of behavioral targeted ads by its members, that’s just not going to be enough to protect your private information while surfing the Web.
If the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) follows through with true consumer privacy protection, look for opt out cookies to be replaced with a process that requires clear disclosures and informed consent with voluntary opt-ins before behavioral targeting can occur. This will hurt the effectiveness of targeted advertising and impose costs for “buying” the right to track individual Internet browsing habits. On the other hand if the FTC does nothing, opt-out cookies will be used by advertising networks to pretend to protect privacy.