As the result of a 5 – 0 vote, the FTC released it’s official framework to limit 3rd party browser surveillance from cookies and collection of broswer histories. Media questions raised towards the FTC’s cautious steps out in defense of consumer privacy were answered summarily, “that’s why we are putting this up for comment.”
The matters of concern were mainly directed at a new “Do Not Track list”; which was compared to a Do Not Call list for 3rd party telemarketers. Consumers should able opt-out of browser data surveillance by adding their information to consumer protection list. However, due to the review period, FTC enforcement measures towards the adoption of Do Not Track are still unformed, uncertain, appearing unenforceable. FTC mentioned they “were not in a place now to deal with deceptive commercial practices”. Retroactive enforcement of privacy on information collected and a Do Not Use list were considerations that seemed to take the FTC panel by surprise. Questions about the scope creep of the decision and current data collected were almost censured by moderators who demanded the identity of privacy labeled press in attendance.
The FTC Chairman’s tone of concern over tracking was not as greatly angled towards consumer publics as it was advertisers, browser companies and industry who rely on corporate data surveillance for marketing information. “I would not personally opt-out of 3rd party…, but that’s why we are putting this up for comment,” said FTC Chair, Liebowitz. The trial run of new versions of privacy protection seems to be at the behest of industry vs. the consumer. While this was made fairly plain, questions were raised about consumers accessibility to the use of new privacy controls in browser technology. The FTC acknowledged users are largely uninformed of what their options are towards operating evolving browser versions and hidden privacy settings on current browser technologies.
As an experiment, I looked into my own browser security; which had undergone several weekly updates. The security settings had changed. There were a mountain of cookies and stored sites in hidden browser histories I didn’t know I had. The box for “show my location” had been automatically checked. I had opted out completely for Google Buzz yesterday only after pop-up options were made available. The public, indeed, still bears the burden of personal privacy vigilance over browser data surveillance; while government bodies catch up to pilot consumer protections. In the meantime, we will watch and see if Google and other 3rd party data brokers are really on their best behavior.
- Joint Consensus on Public Comment, Reccomendations
- National Consumer League of Behavioral Advertising Reccomendations
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THE PROPERTY OF DIGITAL FINGERPRINTS – Cookies get fingered again for new digital privacy identity treachery @normative