Friday, February 24, 2012

Mozilla Led Effort for DNT Finds Broad Support

We’re excited to see the White House and Commerce Department unveil their much-anticipatedconsumer privacy white paper and call for a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights today. The team there put a tremendous amount of work into gathering public input and it’s great that they had the idea to evolve standard Fair Information Privacy Practices to be even more about protecting consumers as opposed to rote compliance.
Regarding industry announcements being reported on Do Not Track, here are three cool things we expect to see happen at a White House event today:
  • Google commits to adding Do Not Track to their Chrome browser and respecting it in their advertisements. Welcome, Google!
  • Big advertisers in the DAA industry group commit to responding to the Do Not Track header. What that response will be is still unclear, and we have some ongoing concerns to resolve, but this is a big step forward for industry to make this commitment.
  • The Federal Trade Commission states that they will enforce Do Not Track. While Do Not Track remains voluntary for companies, any company that commits to implementing Do Not Track yet breaks that commitment is subject to FTC action.
As recent press makes all too clear, users’ needs for online privacy are not being fully addressed today, which is why the Federal Trade Commission called for a Do Not Track solution in the first place, and why 18% of mobile and 7% of desktop Firefox users already choose to turn on Do Not Track.
We’re encouraged to see increased momentum for Do Not Track. And as of today, it’s safe to say it’s here to stay.
Mozilla was the first company to include DNT in a browser when we added it to Firefox a year ago this month, and it’s been awesome to see others follow our lead. We want to continue to see Do Not Track evolve through the Internet’s rich tradition of open development and collaborative innovation. Do Not Track is too important to become a product of closed-door meetings rather than through open, multi-stakeholder efforts.
As we continue to work on Do Not Track, Mozilla is firmly committed to user sovereignty and meaningful privacy choices. We hope to be able to design and build a Do Not Track feature that achieves three goals:
  1. Real choices: give users actionable and informed choices by allowing them to opt in or out of data collection and use.
  2. Limited data: collect and retain the least amount of information necessary, and use anonymous, aggregate data whenever possible.
  3. User control: put people in control of their information and online experiences.
These are inspired by Mozilla’s core privacy principles, which guide our data practices and operations.
Mozilla will continue to work at the W3C, which has a vital role to play in creating an international standard for Do Not Track that represents the consensus of a broad group of stakeholders. Mozilla’sDo Not Track Field Guide provides guidance, examples and sample code for anyone interested in implementing Do Not Track and we’ve already worked with several DAA members and other organizations to help them develop and fine-tune their own Do Not Track implementations.Update: Congratulations to DAA member Jumptap for being the first mobile ad network to respect Do Not Track via mobile browsers and apps.
As we’ve demonstrated over the past year, we stand ready to work with the DAA and its members, both within the W3C and through other fora, to make Do Not Track a fully working system. And if Do Not Track fails to materialize as a productive tool, we’ll look to develop other technical measures to ensure that users’ privacy preferences are respected.
Alex Fowler