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TPE Last Call Comments

From: Jack L. Hobaugh Jr <jack@networkadvertising.org>
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2014 13:23:53 -0400
Message-Id: <7BC8538C-F875-4823-925B-A3690141EDAA@networkadvertising.org>
To: public-tracking-comments@w3.org
Dear Co-Chairs:

Thank you for providing a public comment period for the Tracking Preference Expression (TPE).  Respectfully, Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) offers the following three comments on the TPE:

 Comment 1:              The TPE is not a pure technical protocol specification because it contains compliance definitions, such as “tracking,” “party,” “first party,” “third party,” “collects,” “uses,” and “shares.”  It is clear from the initial home of these definitions only in the TCS (W3C Compliance Document) that these definitions were contemplated as and indeed are, compliance-related definitions.  Because these definitions belong in a compliance document and there are likely to be more than one compliance regime, it is likely that leaving these definitions in the TPE will create conflicts with the non-W3C compliance documents.  NAI respectfully requests that these definitions be removed from the TPE.

 Comment 2:              The technical approach of the TPE lacks a method by which the origin of the DNT signal can be validated to ensure that the signal was set as the result of an informed user choice.  The stated goal of the TPE protocol “is to allow a user to express their personal preference . . . .” “The basic principle is that a tracking preference expression is only transmitted when it reflects a deliberate choice by the user.  In the absence of user choice, there is no tracking preference expressed.”  (TPE Section 4).  NAI agrees with this stated principle but the TPE does not provide the necessary requirements for enforcing this principle within the protocol or for determining a rogue DNT signal.  Without a locked down DNT signal, the server cannot determine whether the DNT signal is a valid signal.  NAI respectfully requests that this issue be addressed before moving forward with the TPE.

 Comment 3:              NAI finds that the TPE does not fit within the concept of a neutral technical protocol specification.  The TPE was meant to be a technical specification that specifies the HTTP protocol for the DNT signal.  Such a protocol standard is normally neutral as to the weighting of the choices presented within the protocol unless there is a reason to weight one specification choice over another.  In the TPE, NAI finds that the protocol takes a non-neutral approach in its handling of the binary enablement choices of DNT:1 and DNT:0 by over-weighting the DNT:1 choice and underweighting the DNT:0 choice in the specification.  A neutral specification would give both enablement choices, DNT:1 and DNT:0, the same weight.  Probably the most apparent demonstration of the aforementioned overweighting in the TPE is the “MUST” requirement for the User Agent to provide the user a choice of DNT:1 but only a “MAY” requirement for the choice of DNT:0.  (See Section 4.)  A balanced and equally weighted approach would make the provision of a DNT:0 choice a MUST.  NAI respectfully requests that the overweighting of the DNT:1 signal over the DNT:0 signal be remedied in order that the consumer be given a full set of DNT signal choices.

* * *

Jack L. Hobaugh Jr
Network Advertising Initiative | Counsel
1620 Eye St. NW, Suite 210 Washington, DC 20006
P: 202-347-5341 | jack@networkadvertising.org

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Received on Wednesday, 18 June 2014 17:25:11 UTC

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