Do not track bill- California

The ‘Do Not Track’ bill, i.e. SB 761 is a privacy proposal which is being deliberated in California.

At the most basic level, this bill if passed would allow all users the choice to opt out of being followed in any format what so ever. Businesses would have to inform costumers about the different mechanisms in place for collecting data and tracking usage relating to the ” sites they visited, their geolocation, and the time and date of visits, among other items. Consumers would be able to sue companies that disregard the measure for up to $1,000 per violation” (online media daily).

How ever industry groups and companies such as Interactive Advertising Bureau, Association of National Marketers, Direct Marketing Association, American Association of Advertising Agencies,Google, Facebook etc are against this regulation. Their stance is that such a bill would affect intestate commerce (which is unconstitutional) and more importantly, within the industry there already is a strong self regulating mechanism in place.

I think this is another step towards increasing transparency and accountability in the area of online advertising (which is the segment thaqt will be most hurt if this bill goes through).  Yet at the same time, I wonder if there is a more balanced way of approaching the issue of online privacy than creating a law?

A collaboration representing the entire marketing-media industry, including the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) came up with a self regulatory program for online behavioral advertising to encourage self initiated industry standards of transperancy and accountability. Since the release of this frame work, there has been a strong movement in the advertising industry to confirm their practices to the principles enunciated. This approach gathered significant approval amongst the key players and has acted as a catalyst for a more responsible approach within the industry.

As opposed to the above, the do not track legislation has been met with opposition, from most key players in the business.

Perhaps it is time to think of a middle ground instead of creating more laws, which will probably encourage companies that want to track to do so in either case, using even more advanced tools, which will be harder to detect.

Is this law going to encourage transparency or will it have the opposite effect?

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