FTC’s do-not-track proposal gets chilly reception from GOP, browser makers

“House Republicans called into question a universal, federally sponsored do-not-track tool for the Internet saying in a hearing Thursday that it would curb profits for the Internet advertising industry,” Grant Slater of Medill News Service reports via MarketWatch.

“In a report released Tuesday, the Federal Trade Commission endorsed the idea of a do-not-track system to protect consumer privacy on the Web, where advertising companies store user data in an effort to display ads targeted at their interests,” Slater. “Legislation is set to be introduced early next year by Rep. Edward Markey that would prohibit online companies from tracking children on the Internet without parental consent. ‘I assume most customers would be interested in seeing advertising that was relevant to them,’ said Rep. Ed Whitfield, a Kentucky Republican, the ranking member of the subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection. ‘We need to be mindful not to enact legislation that would hurt a recovering economy.'”

“The trade commission stopped short of calling for legislation in its report but did say that the industry’s attempts at self-regulation owing to privacy concerns had developed too slowly,” Slater reports. “Such a tool ‘would allow consumers to exercise choices about online tracking in a simple, persistent and universal way,’ said David Vladeck, head of the commission’s consumer protection bureau.”

“But a robust do-not-track option could hobble advertising, the Internet’s main revenue stream and one of the few growing sectors of a sluggish economy,” Slater reports. “Several Democratic representatives have said they would support some form of legislation to enforce do-not-track provisions on the Internet.”

“The major browsers, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Google’s Chrome, Apple’s Safari and Mozilla Firefox, all incorporate some form of anonymity options through preferences or third-party plug-ins,” Slater reports. “The companies behind the browsers reacted coolly to the proposal, touting the privacy functions already in place and saying they would study the proposal further.”

Full article here.


  1. “The “Taxed Enough Already” crowd voted AGAINST an extension of existing tax rates for income below $250,000- that’s right AGAINST. Why, because they want to drop another $700 Billion in BORROWED money on the debt for incomes over $250,000.”

    Hey, P.A.P. smearer, I thought the Bush tax cuts were just for the wealthy. That’s what Pelosi and Co. have been spewing for years.
    How can they extend tax cuts to the middle class when Bush only gave them to the wealthy?


    Could the reason it was voted down was because it was merely a ploy by the Democrats, who knew the Republicans want the tax rates extended for all?

    Could it also be because had they voted it in then they would claim that the Republicans actually WERE for higher taxes?

  2. @m159
    Per your comment: “Create a new inherited aristocracy by shifting the wealth of this nation from the middle class to Conservative sponsors, the already super-rich.” Please explain the following people who are the Democratic aristocracy: Bill Gates; Warren Buffet; George Soros; the Kennedy clan; the Pelosis; John Kerry and the Hienz’s; and list goes way, way on. How many of the Republican’s came from such silver spoon backgrounds – the Bush family. Reagan, Thatcher (UK), Grindrich, Chenney, Palin, DeMint all came from modest backgrounds. Also check out the percentages of elected Republicans who come from backgrounds other than law and then compare this to Democrats. In terms of this discussion thread – I’ll trust the party of laymen to better address my liberties than a party of lawyers! Do you really believe the FCC’s claims they are doing this to protect your liberties or to gain more control?

  3. Perhaps it’s just me, but it seems like joining a political party in the United States today is less like affirming one’s political stance, and more like joining a brainwashed cult.

    Are any of the hardcore Democrats or Republicans capable of evaluating anything independently of their party’s stated position? Or have they abdicated all independent intellectual thought?

    Seems to me the members of each party are more loyal to their party than they are to their country. And I fear for the inevitable consequences of that.

  4. @DAN

    To equate Nazis Germany with the left is extremely disingenuous or naive – AND wrong.

    You do so on the sole evidence that they have the word “Socialist” in their name. Under that argument the USA is communist because we have United in our name, and North Korea is a democracy because the true name is “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”

    Historically, Hitler’s arch enemy was USSR precisely because they were communist. The policies of the Nazis more aligned with the political right. You have to face it Dan (if you are honest with yourself) but the American right, including the Republican party (and the Tea Baggers to some extent) have in the past been very strongly aligned with racist elements, particularly in the south. This continues today only in more subtly coded language, with both the R party and the Tea Baggers. See, for example, how Rand Paul would like to see racial discrimination laws reversed. He thinks it should be OK for businesses to discriminate on the basis of race. This is illustrative of the overall leanings of the Tea Baggers and the far right.

    You seem to be a person of good will. I suggest you question a little more closely the statements of some of the right-wing demagogues who proliferate the radio waves.

  5. @ jmmx – Opposition to Affirmative Action is not at all equivalent to racism. Affirmative Action is a form of racism in and of itself – judging a person by the color or their skin, instead of the content of their character. There are valid arguments to be heard from both sides on whether or not Affirmative Action is still needed.

    Not that this is in any way the proper forum for such a weighty discussion…

  6. @ doc11355 – you say to MrMcLargeHuge:
    “If you are “embarrassed to be a conservative today…”, then, you sir, are probably not a conservative at all.”

    LOL – This is precisely why he is embarrassed!

    Because demagogues like you and Mr Limbaugh believe they have the authority decide what is conservative and what is not. If you do not agree 100% with the proclamations of Limbaugh, Savage, et al, then you are not really conservative – i.e. You must toe the Politically Correct line or we will denounce you (as they did McCain and Collin Powell).

  7. @Pendrag
    Sir, it is not ingenuous to look at the track record of socialism and Statism. First, Mao’s Cultural Revolution occured in the 1970’s – well within the lifetime of the majority of Americans. Let’s not forget Pol Pot, also in the 1970’s and 1980’s. What about the Kim’s in Korea! Let’s also add the Bathist Party (National Socialists) movement in the Middle East which includes the opened minded governments of Iraq, Syria, Algeria and Libya. I can also throw in a load of African and Central Asian governments as well. Second, your claim of the tolerant and visionary European socialists runs afoul of reality. Aren’t these economies in collapse? Does this collapse reflect a model of appeasement – spending money today, rather than ensure a sustainable long-term economy? How much of our current economic challenges come from unsustainable spending and policies? You mention folks who can’t afford health care. Is this a result of an effective MEDICAID/MEDICARE model or from too much government micro management. Using a supply and demand model, wouldn’t health care accounts make more sense. How about lowering the standards to becoming a doctor – so we get more of them and let the market determine thier incomes based on performace. Oh by the way, did you see that the Health Care Bill now limits doctor incomes to be the same, regardless of thier speciality. Isn’t this reminscent of Tricky Dick’s wage caps and price freezes which worked so well in the 70’s? Let’s keep our federal government within the restrictive lanes of our Constitution – remember the ninth and tenth amendments make up 20% of our bill of rights! How does the FCC’s attempts to ‘manage’ the internet jive with the first, ninth and tenth amendments? I think I know your beliefs in fairness, but should the Constitution rule? In the words of Jefferson, if you can stretch the Constitution to meet your needs, then you can stretch it be anything – at which point it becomes meaningless!

  8. I didn’t leave the Republican Party- the Republican Party left me.

    There was a time when Republicans stood for individual rights, equality, keeping the government out of personal lives, free enterprise with reasonable checks for consumer protection, reasonable environmental laws, staying out of foreign entanglements ( following George Washington’s advice) unless the US was directly in danger and BALANCED BUDGETS.

    Sadly that is not the case today…

    Contrary to Faux Newz and the Reactionary Right (Teabaggers), Progressives love America (I’m a veteran of 8 years active service), respect private property rights, believe in free enterprise, want America to prosper and are respectful of the opinions of others.

    However, we do believe that the Bill of Rights is not open to reinterpretation or mitigation. We also think that the economy needs common sense rules (just like all areas of human endeavor), the commons ( the environment and natural resources ) need to be protected as the trusteeship that they are for future generations, and that we need to be a equitable society- not an equal society (everybody should have a fair shot at success given their talent and ambition). That’s not radical- that’s uniquely American.

    Despite the endless bullshit beltway villagers that populate the airwaves and internet push daily, there ARE people of goodwill on both sides who would like to see our nation’s needs taken care of, but they get drowned out because it doesn’t make for sensational headlines or talking points. That’s sad for everyone.

    Cookie trackers who sell your data to advertisers have no respect for your privacy and value nothing but the almighty dollar and they have no shortage of bought and paid for politicians in City Hall, the State Legislature and Congress. They have no more right to this information than if they followed you around like a private Dick and sold your activities to your employer or whomever.

  9. You own a business that earns $1 million in net revenue but you only take $250,000 home and leave the rest in the business to grow it.

    Guess how much you get taxed on? The whole $1 million!!!! Not just the $250k you took as income.

    Guess what happens when a business has less money? The let go of employees as payroll is usually the largest or second largest expense in a business and the one that is most variable. And small businesses employ 70% of working Americans.

    Remember, a business exists to make a profit for the entrepreneur that risked to start it. A business does not exist to pay taxes or provide jobs.

    While there may be a few multi-millionaires or billionaires that could personally afford to pay more, they are a drop in the bucket compared to the many businesses where the next tax increase will directly impact payroll.

    The only way to change this would be to change the tax laws on corporations – something that is not on the table nor under consideration.

    So can we put this stupid argument to rest that it’s a tax on the rich. It’s a small business tax. Kind of like starving the goose that wants to lay golden eggs so you can save on the food expense.

  10. There are plenty of third-party plug-ins to let you block ads and flash if you want to. Very few ads appear in my browser and the one time I was stupid enough to actually click on one, I received a good month’s worth of spam mail. Sorry MDN, you won’t be getting any stipend from me.

  11. I don’t see the point of this proposal. Browsers have the capability to protect my information from advertisers, and there are suggestions from previous posters that make them even more efficient at doing so.

    Why does the government need to get involved? If someone wants help protecting themselves, there are many of us out here that will be happy to help them. I see no reason to give the government yet more authority over things that, frankly, they know little to nothing about.

    This is not a question of “protecting my rights;” in this case, everyone is fully capable of protecting their own rights, even if it’s with the help of others. It’s a question of whether the government should stick their noses in where they don’t belong. Again.

    (I also don’t believe that the government has any right to tax you to give to the charitable causes that I believe in, or vice versa.)

  12. I am a Canadian, but put aside all the partisan politics, this should be the choice of the individual. I think people should get behind this kind of choice. If companies like Google do not want to give search results to people that refuse to be tracked that could be their propagative.

    Maybe it would create a market for paid search or Apple search.

  13. @ Dan

    “How about lowering the standards to becoming a doctor – so we get more of them and let the market determine thier incomes based on performace.”

    I can’t believe you would even suggest a thing like that. Doctors work on people not hondas you moron. If they screw up you don’t get a do over. I can’t believe any person in their right mind would suggest that as a solution to healthcare.

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