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Defining Issue-5: What is tracking?

From: John Simpson <john@consumerwatchdog.org>
Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2012 16:10:26 -0700
Message-Id: <7EC60392-E599-4169-BD6B-2EE45D069445@consumerwatchdog.org>
To: "public-tracking@w3.org (public-tracking@w3.org)" <public-tracking@w3.org>

As many of you may have seen, I've been up all night for the past two days following the "discussions" in Amsterdam making a nuisance of myself on IRC asking people to remember to speak into the microphone.  I've repeatedly heard calls for definitions, particularly that of "tracking."

I have long held the view that one is not necessary for the spec; you need only spell out how to send the DNT header and what your obligations are when you get one. However, in the spirit of a genuine desire to move toward consensus I recently offered a definition on the list.  So far only Roy Fielding, another one of us participating from afar, responded. Here is what I proposed:

"Tracking is the collection and correlation of data about the Internet activities of a particular user, computer, or device, over time and across a website or websites."

Here is a link to the email chain: http://www.w3.org/2011/tracking-protection/track/issues/5

May I suggest that those who have repeatedly been calling for a definition now offer one?  Otherwise I would sadly reach the conclusion that such calls are nothing but deliberate attempts to stall the process and undermine the Working Group's efforts.

As ever,

John M. Simpson
Consumer Advocate
Consumer Watchdog
2701 Ocean Park Blvd., Suite 112
Santa Monica, CA,90405
Tel: 310-392-7041
Cell: 310-292-1902
Received on Thursday, 4 October 2012 23:10:26 UTC

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