Will "Do Not Track" Gut the Online Ad Industry?

The Internet's standards body is debating technology that allows users to make their surfing habits unavailable to advertisers. How far should the body enter the policy making realm?

What's the Latest Development?


Some of the world's largest Internet companies are working with the World Wide Web Consortium, an international body that sets online standards, to promote "Do Not Track" technology, enabling individual users to make their surfing habits unavailable to advertisers. Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft support the technology, perhaps as a way to differentiate their product in a time of increased privacy concerns. "However, advertisers insist they must still gather data on how many people—and in some cases which people—have viewed a particular ad on a website."

What's the Big Idea?

In debating Do Not Track technology, the World Wide Web Consortium is moving beyond Internet protocol into the realm of policy making. The working group within the Consortium created to discuss the issues "has already agreed that activating a Do Not Track signal would not prevent companies like Microsoft, Google, or Facebook from tracking and targeting users within their own vast websites." Thus small online publishers, and the ad networks that support them, may have the most to lose. The debate, which turns on default browser settings, has yet to address similar privacy issues for tablets, mobiles and apps. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

 

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

26 ultra-rich people own as much as the world's 3.8 billion poorest

The Oxfam report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency."

Getty Images and Wikimedia Commons
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new report by Oxfam argues that wealth inequality is causing poverty and misery around the world.
  • In the last year, the world's billionaires saw their wealth increase by 12%, while the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet lost 11% of their wealth.
  • The report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency." We explain what Steven Pinker's got to do with it.
Keep reading Show less

People who constantly complain are harmful to your health

Moans, groans, and gripes release stress hormones in the brain.

Photo credit: Getty Images / Stringer
popular

Could you give up complaining for a whole month? That's the crux of this interesting piece by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.

Participants sought to go the entirety of February without so much as a moan, groan, or bellyache.

Keep reading Show less
Videos
  • Facebook and Google began as companies with supposedly noble purposes.
  • Creating a more connected world and indexing the world's information: what could be better than that?
  • But pressure to return value to shareholders came at the expense of their own users.
Keep reading Show less