Will Failure of Internet Self-Regulation Lead to Do-Not-Track Option?

“If you want to see how industry self-regulation can fall short, take a look at the online advertising business and the fight over a do-not-track protocol to protect consumer privacy,” suggests the Wall Street Journal. “It would seem to be in business’s interest to keep customers happy,” notes the article, “to give those who want it the guarantee that they aren’t being tracked on the Internet.”

That is the main idea behind the one-click, do-not-track button that would block marketing firms from being able to follow users’ online activities from one site to another, as they currently do.

And many people want this do-not-track option. According to recent a Pew Research study, 73 percent consider that type of tracking a violation of privacy. But some advertisers are pushing back, claiming that without effective advertising, the Internet could not exist as it does today, with its free flow of information.

If this is anything like the Do Not Call Registry of 2003, which has since been signed by more than 218 million people, citizens would likely sign up for a Do Not Track option in droves.

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