Do Not Track was one of the biggest jokes of 2012. Sure, it was a honorable endeavor, but nobody could come to a consensus as to what Do Not Track means even after pledging to do something about it only a few months earlier. After the private sector failed to reach an agreement, some politicians are now bringing out the threat of regulation.
The Hill reports that Senators Jay Rockefeller and Richard Blumenthal have introduced legislation that would implement Do Not Track rules into federal law. The legislation – The Do Not Track Online Act – would put the FTC in charge of regulating the penalties put on companies that violate a consumer’s opting out of ad tracking.
In a statement issued on the proposed legislation, Rockefeller says that it’s important to give consumers a choice:
“Online companies are collecting massive amounts of information, often without consumers’ knowledge or consent. Consumers should be empowered to make their own decision about whether their information can be tracked and used online.”
This isn’t the first time that Rockefeller has tried to pass online tracking legislation. The first Do Not Track bill was introduced in 2011, but efforts on the bill were put on hold after advertising agencies and privacy proponents came together to work on a solution that would please all parties. That obviously didn’t work out.
Even if Rockefeller gets this legislation off the ground, it will be met with stiff resistance from the advertising industry. It even already has a campaign in place that it was using against Microsoft’s plans to introduce Do Not Track into Internet Explorer 10.
Despite all of this, Do Not Track will still probably mean nothing no matter what happens. The advertising industry has stated that it will ignore Do Not Track signals, and you can’t really block advertisers from tracking at least some of your activities online anyway.
Besides, those worried about their privacy online should be more concerned over FISA than some advertisers wanting to better target you with ads. You can block obtrusive annoying ads. The same can’t be said of widespread surveillance.