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Re: Proposed Text for Local Law and Public Purpose

From: Walter van Holst <walter.van.holst@xs4all.nl>
Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2012 18:55:48 +0200
To: <public-tracking@w3.org>
Message-ID: <49d39bde1a0e6c9ec59e17b0080d9690@xs4all.nl>
On 2012-10-25 18:19, Chris Mejia wrote:
> Walter, perhaps you should take your tech suggestion to the MRC, 
> where it
> would actionable, if they find it valid for their Congressionally 
> mandated
> purpose.  Just a friendly suggestion, but as far as I know, they are 
> not
> directly represented here.
>


Dear Chris,

May I remind you that the burden of proof of the nature and substance 
of the MRC guidelines lies upon those who claim them to be relevant in 
this context.

Moreover, although I shouldn't do your homework, a look at the MRC 
website reveals that the MRC itself does not claim to have a formal 
Congressional mandate:

"In the early 1960’s a U.S. Congressional Committee held hearings on 
the purpose and accuracy of audience research and considered regulation 
related to the TV and Radio industries.  These public hearings are 
commonly referred to as the “Harris Committee Hearings on Broadcast 
Ratings.”  After investigation and extensive testimony the Committee 
determined that Industry self-regulation, including independent audits 
of rating services was preferable to government intervention.  The 
Harris Committee hearings resulted in the formation of an 
Industry-funded organization to review and accredit audience rating 
services called the Broadcast Rating Council (now referred to as the 
MRC)."

(From their 'About' page)

Yesterday's "discussion" erupted after Jonathan gave his, (I think 
accurate) grammatical reading of the MRC guidelines which at face value 
does not contain anything that a reasonable reader would find applicable 
to ad impression gathering on the internet. In that you stated 
repeatedly your experience and involvement with the MRC process and 
role, but also stated that you would not provide any further information 
to enlighten our ignorance on that subject.

In the meantime Ed Felten observed that there are already market 
players that claim a) to be compliant to the MRC guidelines and to b) 
honour opt-out requests, which indicates that the MRC guidelines are not 
necessarily applicable in this context.

So on one hand we have claims by Amy and you that MRC guidelines are 
relevant, with you repeatedly claiming a Congressional mandate. Thereby 
implying a mandate through an Congressional act. On the other hand we 
have a, presumably ignorant, bunch of people that see can't see anything 
in MRC's own documents that either implies relevance on the subject 
matter or a legal mandate for MRC to operate in the way you have 
implied.

The course of action I would suggest is that those who brought the MRC 
guidelines up in the first place either:

a) furnish references that support their claims

or

b) formally request W3C to involve MRC in this debate and to furnish a 
position.

Neither is a task for those who have questioned your asessment of this 
matter.

So far my asessment is that the MRC guidelines bear no relevance and 
that they are strictly self-regulatory, meaning self-inflicted and 
therefore cannot, even if online ad impressions were within the scope of 
the citations givenhere, be a reason to override DNT:1 while claiming to 
be DNT-compliant. I will be perfectly happy to revisit that asessment if 
evidence to the contrary is supplied to aforementioned options.

In other words: put up or shut up.

Regards,

  Walter
Received on Thursday, 25 October 2012 16:56:16 UTC

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