Privacy advocates state that there should be a “Do Not Track” system, that forbids the collection of certain information and allows a user to option out of any methods of tracking. There are two sides to every argument with legitimate concerns that people with different world views prioritize to differing degrees. At first glance, one may approve for the need of FTC mandating internet. For some, it feels like a violation to be treated as a mere object of commerce others worry that data about their interests will be used to discriminate wrongly against them or to exclude them from information and opportunities they should enjoy. Those who argue we do not need the DNT system believe excess customization of the Web experience may structure society. There is a nice thought that as a nation our, privacy rights would be restored, however we cannot forget how many loopholes, contracts, network service providers benefits will come about a DNT law. The ultimate question is “what is privacy?” Everyone has their own take on “privacy,” all we can do is be smart about how and who we provide our information to, take responsibility and control, that’s the closest to freedom and privacy we can get, without the need of a DNT system.
DNT is not needed in terms of businesses and advertising, Internet tracking has many advantages, including allowing businesses and advertisers to convey more convenient and relevant advertising, services and cost savings to Internet users, however if ad networks sold personal and contact info, it would undercut its advertising business and its own profitability, however they can still trade the information. Most websites such as Facebook, Yahoo, MSN and thousands of blogs, news sites, and comment boards use advertising to support what they do, using cookies to track one’s Internet usage. Google for example, spends millions and millions of dollars on free services like its search engine, Gmail, mapping tools, Google Groups and more where the ultimate result is personalized advertising.
Marketers will pay more to reach you if you are likely to use their products in the business of online advertising the model code is to sell space to advertisers—giving them access to people based on their demographics and interests.
A working group of industry representatives, advertisers, online businesses and privacy advocates known as The W3C Tracking Protection Working Group, have been working for two years to expand an agreed upon policy and procedure for the need of a DNT system, but have been unable to reach any conclusion. 2012 Eric Wheeler “Do Not Track” is Poised to Kill Online Growth, argues the rumors ran that the DNT would be in action starting in the year 2013 there were no specifics as to who and what this DNT system would represent and “poison.” Wheeler argues that it would be so effective,
That it should strike fear into the hearts of every company that does business online — particularly startups, but also the Googles and Facebooks of the world.
According to the article,
The FTC was likely to go beyond the boundaries of privacy and easily opt out of receiving any such market ads including ones from companies and ad networks. Any allied company would cease to collect anonymous user data or coerce browsers to prevent tracking by default, this statement may sound beneficial.
The practical implications of such regulations would be devastating — not just for advertisers and the online publishers who depend on their money, but for the technology industry and economy as a whole.
Wheeler implies that consumers themselves would end up suffering to a need for the DNT System. The gain of “privacy” would be at the cost of online subscription fees, less interesting and innovative online experiences, and less relevant advertising. The results to DNT would lead to a confusing, overboard, opt-in mechanisms on every Website visited. As Wheeler states,
We are headed for what feels like an anti-Internet, not a privacy movement.
The article by Jim Harper, ‘It’s a Modern Trade: Web Users Get as Much as They Get as Much as They Give’ starts with
Many people are concerned and dismayed—even shocked—when they learn that “their” data are fuel for the World Wide Web.
Harper is not so much taken aback by the FTC wanting to mandate the need for DNT, but rather says that society should stop being such cry babies and learn to better control our information. Harper does not agree with tracking one’s information, but he doesn’t agree with FTC wanting to mandate the need for DNT either.
Rather than indulging the natural reaction to say “stop,” people should get smart and learn how to control personal information. Every visit to a website sends information out before it pulls information in. And the information Web surfers send out can be revealing.
All this brings back information from one of the readings done in class titled, “NSA Prism program taps into the user data of Apple, Google and others.” The NSA obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other U.S. internet giants, this access is part of a previously undisclosed program called Prism. Prism allows officials to collect material such as search history, content of emails, file transfers and live chats.
PRISM is an easier method of extensive, in-depth surveillance of live communications and stored information.
Prism according to the law allows for the targeting of any customers of participating firms who live outside the US, Americans whose communications include people outside the US and also opens the possibility of communications made entirely within the US to be collected without warrants. The new tracking method PRISM emphasizes a need for DNT, creating more fears into people of their information being tracked to the point where apparently it can be collected without the use of a warrant.
In the end, one is responsible for their privacy and the actions they take upon it. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the need of the FTC mandating a DNT system is an individual decision. Excess customization of the Web experience may structure society. For those who seek a need for DNT, there are services and behaviors that can be avoided to not be tracked within one’s own terms. Once can make the effort in taking responsibility and control of the information they choose to share and post. Such methods include paying for security devices for network and online services, using a PO box and other such behaviors that can limit information from being gathered. Resisting the need for the DNT System, allows for one to be independent, in control of their information, allowing individuals to retain their personal liberties.