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FTC wants 'do not track' privacy button for surfers

updated 04:40 pm EST, Wed December 1, 2010

FTC shows privacy report for Internet surfers

The Federal Trade Commission has posted a privacy report that suggested a 'do not track' feature should be built into websites or web browsers. The implementation would let users turn off the data collection on their browsing behavior. The FTC admits it doesn't have the power to mandate the move, however, without the approval of Congress.

The watchdog believed a button was necessary because certain companies that collect browsing data don't address consumer privacy interests. No specific companies were mentioned, but Facebook and its recent changes to privacy settings have made the FTC question this practice.

The 'do not track' function would be similar to the 'do not call' list that became law after years of telemarketing. It would have a cookie on a user's browser that would communicate with the sites a user visits and tell them whether the user wants to be tracked or not. An enforceable requirement would have to be put into place that would keep sites honest.

The report was meant to guide Congress in any potential legislation as well as to invite comments from the industry. [via GigaOm]

by MacNN Staff



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