Seeking to follow the successful example of the FTC’s “Do
Not Call” list, a variety of privacy groups have now proposed a “Do Not Track”
list that seeks to create a list for consumers that would prefer to “opt-out”
of being tracked for behavioral marketing campaigns.
The proposal surmises that consumers would want to avoid
having their online activities monitored for marketing purposes and mandates
that advertisers respect the wishes of the consumers on the list. Being on the
list, however, would not lead to any reduction in “direct advertising.” The
results of being on the list would be mostly translucent to a consumer.
Advertisers generally do not support the proposal. Most
argue that targeted advertising is beneficial to consumers, who benefit from
ads that are more relevant to their interests and needs. Advertisers also warn
that targeted ads help to support free content on the Internet and elsewhere. A
These are the types of issues that the FTC will likely begin
to focus upon in the upcoming years. Both sides have good arguments for their
respective positions. The likely result, however, is the eventual implementation
of a “Do Not Track” style list. The FTC will likely determine that consumers
are the ones who should ultimately decide which of the two sides of the issue
is correct. Those that agree with the privacy groups will join the list, those
that agree with the advertisers will simply avoid the list to encourage the
more targeted advertising.