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Re: ISSUE-45 ACTION-246: draft proposal regarding making a public compliance commitment

From: John Simpson <john@consumerwatchdog.org>
Date: Wed, 5 Sep 2012 12:27:04 -0700
Message-Id: <607CCF99-52A7-44BF-9DED-5C98B45041D1@consumerwatchdog.org>
Cc: "public-tracking@w3.org" <public-tracking@w3.org>
To: Justin Brookman <justin@cdt.org>
Colleagues,

I think it's important to recall the WG's charter which explicitly ties the TPE and the Compliance Recommendations.  I quote:

"The Tracking Preference Expression and Definitions and Compliance Recommendations are necessarily linked and aligned; the Tracking Preference Expression (Do Not Track) specification should move to Proposed Recommendation status only with consensus on the associated  Definitions and Compliance."

As ever,
John
----------
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
www.ConsumerWatchdog.org
john@consumerwatchdog.org

On Sep 5, 2012, at 9:30 AM, Justin Brookman wrote:

> There has obviously been an undercurrent for a while that some folks would like the spec to just define the syntax of DNT in the TPE spec and to be completely silent as to what it means.  I remain opposed to that approach for the reasons previously stated and reiterated here.
> 
> Of course this fractures DNT.  If I go to a publisher, and 10 third parties respond ackNAI, 10 respond ackIAB, 10 respond ackW3C, 10 respond ackUS, and 10 respond ackFU, that means those parties are doing potentially very different things in response to the DNT:1 header which completely frustrates the purpose of standardization.  Users cannot reasonably be expected to keep track of the varying regulatory and self-regulatory models and evaluate them.  I'm not sure how user agents will respond to this panoply of response headers, but it is conceivable that they will be configurable to only allow content that ack in certain ways, or that add-ons will be available to do that for them.  I think the balkanization of DNT would push us down the TPL/ad block road, which from my point of view is a bad result --- I would prefer to see the ecosystem define DNT:1 in a consistent way, and respond to those headers by either serving non-tracking ads and content, or requesting the user to grant an exception (or turn off DNT entirely if the prompts get too annoying).
> 
> Again, the value add here is the standardization of what the header means.  The header is out there today --- any company can publicly state that they follow NAI's opt out rules in response to the header if they want to.  If the end result of this process is that the meaning of the header is outsourced to whoever wants to define it, then we have not solved the problem this group was tasked to address.
> 
> Justin Brookman
> Director, Consumer Privacy
> Center for Democracy & Technology
> 1634 I Street NW, Suite 1100
> Washington, DC 20006
> tel 202.407.8812
> fax 202.637.0969
> justin@cdt.org
> http://www.cdt.org
> @CenDemTech
> @JustinBrookman
> 
> On 9/5/2012 12:11 PM, Shane Wiley wrote:
>> 
>> Justin,
>>  
>> I believe it could be helpful in both places but I’m struggling to understand how a UA would do ANYTHING other than communicate the compliance element to the user.  Are you suggesting UAs would make personal choices for users and provide different functionality based on the compliance approach of the Server?
>>  
>> Allowing companies to articulate their compliance approach as a coded element is in no way “fracturing” DNT.  The TPE will work completely as intended with this field in place. 
>>  
>> - Shane
>>  
>> From: Justin Brookman [mailto:justin@cdt.org] 
>> Sent: Wednesday, September 05, 2012 9:03 AM
>> To: public-tracking@w3.org
>> Subject: Re: ISSUE-45 ACTION-246: draft proposal regarding making a public compliance commitment
>>  
>> If it's not in the response header, it's arguably worse.  I don't think many consumers are going to be visiting the well-known location to determine how the 50 third parties on a given site define tracking, so I imagine that the user agents will be intermediating on their behalf.  I would imagine that would be easier if the values were in the response header.
>> 
>> Either way, the fracturing of DNT is an inescapable problem.  What's the point of a compliance spec if anyone can define compliance as they like?
>> 
>> 
>> Justin Brookman
>> Director, Consumer Privacy
>> Center for Democracy & Technology
>> 1634 I Street NW, Suite 1100
>> Washington, DC 20006
>> tel 202.407.8812
>> fax 202.637.0969
>> justin@cdt.org
>> http://www.cdt.org
>> @CenDemTech
>> @JustinBrookman
>> 
>> On 9/5/2012 11:57 AM, Shane Wiley wrote:
>> Justin,
>>  
>> I’m not sure this was intended for the Response Header.  Would you feel more comfortable with a “Compliance” field in the well-known location?  This information is more for the consumer than it is for the UA.
>>  
>> - Shane
>>  
>> From: Justin Brookman [mailto:justin@cdt.org] 
>> Sent: Wednesday, September 05, 2012 8:46 AM
>> To: public-tracking@w3.org
>> Subject: Re: ISSUE-45 ACTION-246: draft proposal regarding making a public compliance commitment
>>  
>> This adds an incredible amount of complexity to the DNT standard.  Under this proposal, the response header is now expected to include a value that corresponds to any number of policy statements on what the header should mean.  The point of the W3C standardization is to come up with one consistent approach; not a platform for any number of other authorities to message their own.  This puts a lot of burden on user agents (and users) to intermediate these potentially ever-multiplying definitions of what all the third parties on a site interpret DNT:1 to mean.
>> 
>> I think the existing text is substantially more reasonable for everyone involved.  I think even silence would be preferable to this approach as well.  Let's come up with a reasonable standard on what DNT:1 means, and servers can message whether they're not tracking as described in that standard.  This is not intended to be a compliance tool for every regulatory and self-regulatory regime around the world.
>> 
>> 
>> Justin Brookman
>> Director, Consumer Privacy
>> Center for Democracy & Technology
>> 1634 I Street NW, Suite 1100
>> Washington, DC 20006
>> tel 202.407.8812
>> fax 202.637.0969
>> justin@cdt.org
>> http://www.cdt.org
>> @CenDemTech
>> @JustinBrookman
>> 
>> On 9/4/2012 8:51 PM, David Wainberg wrote:
>> This fulfills ACTION-246 (http://www.w3.org/2011/tracking-protection/track/actions/246), which relates to ISSUE-45 (http://www.w3.org/2011/tracking-protection/track/issues/45). 
>> 
>> There are problems with the current proposed approach to issue 45. The current version does not accommodate implementation distinctions based on, for example, geography/jurisdiction, business model, or technology. It also creates unnecessary and counter-productive legal landmines that will spur companies to avoid implementing the full spec. We can provide for making legal commitments without this unwanted result.
>> 
>> I think the first point should be obvious. There will be a tremendous diversity of organizations, business models, and technologies to which DNT may be applied, either voluntarily or compulsorily, under a diversity of regulatory regimes. The spec needs to accommodate this diversity.
>> 
>> The more important point is that, if we make the mistake of tying the server response (the header or WKL) to a broad, legally-binding representation that goes well beyond the specific meanings of the responses, end-users will lose out because companies will avoid implementing the response mechanisms. The reality is that companies who may otherwise be eager to implement DNT will avoid making representations that could be construed in overly broad ways, that may be ambiguous, or that otherwise are potentially misaligned with what they do. Instead, companies will seek to make representations that unambiguously describe their practices. We should facilitate this, not make it difficult.
>> 
>> Note that I am definitely not saying that companies should be able to act contrary to what they represent in the response mechanism(s). That, however, is not a problem we need to solve. Companies will be held to account for any such misrepresentations anyway, regardless of what the spec says. And if the available responses are sufficiently precise and adequately defined, I think companies will implement them.
>> 
>> This proposal solves both problems. It will provide for the enforceable statement that the working group is aiming for, but it will also allow needed flexibility for servers operating under various regulatory regimes, and would do so especially for servers operating under multiple regulatory regimes. And, most important, it would create a mechanism whereby companies can clearly and accurately say what they do and then do what they say.
>> The proposal is the following:
>> 
>> The compliance spec remains silent on the matter
>> Add a required "compliance" field to the tracking status resource in the TPE, where the value indicates the compliance regime under which the server is honoring the DNT signal.
>> The value of the compliance field is a 3-5 letter token indicating the applicable regulatory regime. Allowed tokens could include 3-letter country codes, e.g. USA, GBR, NLD, or designations for voluntary regimes, e.g. W3C, DAA, NAI, IABEU. My understanding is that an organization like IANA can manage a list of tokens in order to prevent collisions.
>>  
>> 
Received on Wednesday, 5 September 2012 19:27:25 UTC

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