The U.S. FTC is in the midst of considering a proposed Do-Not-Track plan
that seeks to address mounting concerns about behavioural tracking of online activities for marketing purposes [the practice became apparentin one of my recent classes when we visited an online dating site to discuss the use of Google advertising only to find that dating site advertisements appeared in subsequent, unrelated browsing]. Yesterday, both Google and Mozilla announced
that they would install do-not-track features on the Chrome and Firefoxbrowsers.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center, one of the leading privacy groups in the U.S., makes the case for an opt-in approach, noting that it would better protect consumer privacy and is consistent with many other U.S. privacy statutes. It adds that:
Opt-in is more effective than opt-out because it encourages companies to explain the benefits of information sharing, and to eliminate barriers to exercising choice. Experience with opt-out has shown that companies tend to obfuscate the process of exercising choice, or that exemptions are created to make opt-outimpossible.
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