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Tech

Federal Trade Commission: Congress Should Let Industry Decide ‘Do Not Track’ Standards

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Ian Bush Ian Bush
Ian Bush is an anchor, reporter, news editor, and technology editor&nb...
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By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Do online advertisers know too much about you? The feds have been taking a look at that question — and what to do about it.

The Federal Trade Commission says, in a report released on Monday, that Congress should stay out of it and let those who do tech day-in and day-out (industry and advocacy groups) deal with what’s called Do Not Track.

CNET chief political correspondent Declan McCullagh feels about the same, “I’d rather see what very smart companies can come up with on their own.”

“Everyone is moving pretty quickly toward Do Not Track technology, so if you have a new law that says this is what we want, it might actually impede some of this progress.”

He says the FTC wants users to be able to flip the ‘off’ switch on tracking and to easily check where and how their information is being used.

“I think most people are moving in the direction that ‘Do Not Track’ means ‘opt-out.’  You can keep the information about me, but only maybe for a few seconds.”

Some say tracking provides a richer (and free) browsing experience on sites like Google and Facebook, though some privacy groups insist web companies already know too much about you and make knowing more of your business their business.

The FTC is calling for more oversight on ‘data brokers’ — companies like US Search, and ChoicePoint — which the ACLU has called a business model ‘built on the violation of consumer privacy.’

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