The Digital Advertising Alliance (“DAA”) recently announced that its members will work “to add browser-based header signals to the set of tools by which consumers can express their preferences” not to be tracked online and will work with browser providers to develop “consistent language across browsers…that describes to consumers the effect of exercising such choice.”
This announcement came on the heels of the Obama administration’s release of a framework for a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. The DAA’s agreement represents the industry’s attempt to appease consumer privacy concerns in the face of the growth of online advertising. The DAA represents over 400 advertising and technology companies.
The DAA announcement indicates that the DAA standard and corresponding enforcement will be applied when a consumer “(1) has been provided language that describes…the effect of exercising such choice including that some data may still be collected and (2) has affirmatively chosen to exercise a uniform choice with the browser based tool.” As reported by The New York Times, not all data would be protected by a Do Not Track mechanism. The data collected by companies adhering to a Do Not Track mechanism still could be used for market research and product development purposes and the mechanism would not block companies such as Facebook from tracking its members through the “Like” button and other functions. According to the report, Stuart Ingis, counsel to the DAA, stated that the term “Do Not Track” is a misnomer because the mechanism would be “stopping some data collection, but it’s not stopping all data collection.”
Some privacy advocates have criticized the Do Not Track mechanism for targeting only “third-party” sites. “First-party” websites, which are websites that consumers visit directly, can still collect data on visitors and serve them online advertisements based on the collected data.
The DAA’s announcement indicates that the browser-based consumer choice mechanism “will be implemented within nine months.”