Ohio State University professor and new World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) co-chair Peter Swire is attempting to create a standard way to let users stop Web sites from tracking their online behavior.
As former W3C co-chair Aleecia M. McDonald recently stepped down as co-chair of the Do Not Track (DNT) standardization effort to join Stanford University's Center for Internet and Society, Swire's involvement is viewed as an attempt to save the DNT process. One major issue is whether DNT should be enabled by default in browsers. In a recent testimony before the Senate about DNT, Swire opposed the Digital Advertising Alliance's request for an exception to DNT restrictions involving market research or product development.
"These exceptions are so open-ended that I have not been able to discern any limits on collection under them," Swire says. Calls for industry self-regulation are only effective when a real threat of governmental regulation motivates meaningful change, Swire notes. "I personally would not like to have an Internet where I believed that each moment of my browsing might easily be breached and shown to the entire world," he says.
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