Tuesday, December 14, 2010

FTC recommending privacy options for Internet users

Edward Wyatt and Tanzina Vega at the NY Times report that the FTC is recommending internet users be allowed to decide whether or not their surfing and buying habits tracked. Groups like the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) are encouraged, but don't see a "do not track" option as the perfect solution to online privacy concerns. Online advertising groups are not happy about the proposal, saying that if "Do not track" saw the same rate of adoption as "do not call" it would cause the industry "significant harm."

There is no doubt an opt-out of tracking option would require radical changes in the way online ads are targeted. But I should have the option not to be tracked. Just like I can choose whether or not to take part in CVS's data gathering ExtraCare reward card, I should be able to choose whether or not the sites I visit gather data on me. I should be able to see what type of data is being gathered and I should be able to have that data purged. Or I should be paid for the information. It is my information, after all.