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FTC Proposes Do Not Track List

Would You Support an Internet Do Not Track List?

Amid increasing privacy concerns and complaints from users, the FTC is encouraging social networks to implement a Do Not Track mechanism that would allow consumers to decide whether or not they'd like their behaviors to be tracked for online behavioral advertising (think: those ads that pop up beside your Facebook page). An opt-out list would be maintained by a permanent cookie that communicates your preference to your web browser when you visit any page that would otherwise collect behavioral data.

Opponents say that such a mechanism would hurt advertisers and publishers and wouldn't really offer any real value to consumers. The FTC Chair says that it could be implemented by either government regulation or industry standards.

I don't know that I'd necessarily support this measure, and I'm not sure how widely it would be adopted by consumers. Plus, while this move seems relatively minor, could it be a stepping stone for more widespread government control of the Internet? Would you support a Do Not Track list?

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