The Federal Trade Commission has proposed that consumers be given the option to ensure that their browsing and buying habits online NOT be tracked, The New York Times reports.
Edward Wyatt and Tanzina Vega write in The Times that if consumers embrace the "do not track’ option it "could directly affect the billions of dollars in business done by online advertising companies and by technology giants like Google that collect highly targeted information about consumers that can be used to deliver personalized advertising to them."
According to the article, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said, "“Despite some good actors, self-regulation of privacy has not worked adequately and is not working adequately for American consumers. We’d like to see companies work a lot faster to make consumer choice easier.”
Mike Zaneis, the senior vice president and general counsel of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, told The Times, "The online advertising industry … would suffer ‘significant economic harm’ if the government controlled the do-not-track mechanism and there was ‘a high participation rate similar to that of Do Not Call.’ Mr. Zaneis said the industry would continue to build upon a self-regulatory framework and had recently implemented the use of icons on select online advertisements that allow users to opt out of targeted advertising. [He added] ‘If your goal is to have a red flashing icon that says ‘click here to opt out of targeting’ and to incentivize people to opt out, then we don’t share that goal.’"