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Re: ISSUE-4 and clarity regarding browser defaults

From: Roy T. Fielding <fielding@gbiv.com>
Date: Sat, 2 Jun 2012 19:45:39 -0700
Cc: public-tracking@w3.org
Message-Id: <DE03528F-BBAC-4FC6-95BF-FD61ABA0CB21@gbiv.com>
To: Justin Brookman <jbrookman@cdt.org>
On Jun 2, 2012, at 6:29 PM, Justin Brookman wrote:

> Roy, this precise issue came up on the weekly call on Wednesday, and Aleecia concluded that there was disagreement among the group on the precise question of whether DNT:1 could be on by default, and that we would discuss the issue in Seattle.

What we talked about was whether a non-specific add-on (AVG) can
set the header field (ISSUE-149) and the impact of conflicting
extensions and configuration (ISSUE-150).

> You can obviously do whatever you like to the document, but I just wanted to point out that the editors seem to disagree with your statement that we have reached consensus on this point.  The minutes from the last call (http://www.w3.org/2012/05/30-dnt-minutes) seem to back up my argument, but perhaps I am confused and misunderstood what was said on Wednesday --- guidance from the chairs on this point would be helpful.  (Also, FWIW, there is also another raised ISSUE-143 on whether "activating a tracking preference must require explicit, informed consent from a user" . . .)

I believe 143 is about additional requirements on user awareness
of the new setting when DNT is enabled by an add-on/extension.

> In the meantime, if you or anyone else could shed some light on why DNT:1 on by default would make the standard more challenging to implement, I would very much like to hear substantive arguments about how that would not be workable.

It isn't more challenging to implement.  It just won't be
implemented because it obscures the user's choice.  The essence
of any Recommendation is to encourage deployment of a given
protocol because it is good for everyone to do so, and we already
established that most of industry will deploy DNT if it accurately
reflects an individual user's choice.  We already discussed this
and made a decision. It has not yet been reopened to further
discussion, so I am not going to explain it further.

>   Thus far, I have only heard assertions by fiat that we can't discuss the issue and tautological interpretations of the word "preference."  If there are technical reasons by DNT:1 on by default would pose problems, what are they (I'm not saying they don't exist, I just don't know)?

The technical reason is that it wouldn't match the defined
semantics for the field.  That could obviously be fixed by
changing the definition of the field, but since that is one
of the few things we have agreed to already, we have a process
that must be followed to reopen the issue.  Otherwise, we have
no chance of finishing anything.

....Roy
Received on Sunday, 3 June 2012 02:45:59 UTC

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