Re: ISSUE-5: What is the definition of tracking?

The essential problem with relying on a set of exceptions
is that the end user cannot be expected to know those
exceptions.  All they know is the configuration that is set.
If we give the user an expectation of requesting "Do Not Track"
and then allow sites to ignore that request on the basis of
our set of exceptions, then I think regulators will treat this
protocol in the same way that they treat fine print in contracts.

In other words, we are setting up the situation where the
mechanism will be implemented according to our standard but
the regulations will be implemented according to the user's
expectations -- nullifying our standard in the process.

Users don't see header fields, so there is no need to change
the DNT field name.  However, my current plan is to stop
referring to it as "Do Not Track" in the document.


On Oct 12, 2011, at 6:02 PM, Brett Error wrote:

> Any time you are recording the behavior/path of something, you are tracking it.  There isn't anything we can do to redefine that in a consumer's lexicon, nor do I think we really want to.
> The urge to define "tracking" stems from the concern that  "do not track" sounds like it will forbid all tracking.  That, of course, also is not our intention so we feel compelled to redefine the word "track" to curtail its scope (in more of a legal document type of context).
> That would be one approach.  We can take (and indeed already are taking) a different approach.  
> PROPOSAL: Close ISSUE-5 with the following notes:
> 1) The DNT specification covers a standard way wherein a consumer can express a tracking preference.  It is entirely up to the site/service whether or not to respect that preference.
> 2) It is entirely possible for a site/service to be in full compliance with the DNT specification, and still track a consumer, EVEN WHEN THAT CONSUMER IS EXPRESSING A PREFERENCE AGAINST BEING TRACKED.  An example of this is the first party exemption around which we've reached a (conceptual) consensus.  There are others being discussed.
> The notion here is that in certain situations, there may be reasons a party may have a right/need to do tracking.  It is our responsibility to define 1) what those situations are, 2) how, even in these situations, we do our best to protect the spirit of what the consumer is requesting (privacy), and 3) how, if at all, the service doing the tracking responds in this type of situation so that the consumer's agent can take action (if any).
> In doing so, we actually define "track" in the context of DNT, but avoid the messy aspects of a semantics battle.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [] On Behalf Of Bjoern Hoehrmann
> Sent: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 6:17 PM
> To: Aleecia M. McDonald
> Cc:
> Subject: Re: ISSUE-5: What is the definition of tracking?
> * Aleecia M. McDonald wrote:
>> I am not convinced either Roy or I have the first case quite solid yet, 
>> perhaps because we have each phrased this as more absolute than what 
>> people think. It would be very good if people who think there is more 
>> to tracking than just data moving between sites could please chime in 
>> with a lucid explanation of what they mean.
> The Working Group cannot define "tracking" without additional modifiers in a manner that is inconsistent with typical english usage. "This user arrived on this page and then moved on to that page" is a statement that cannot be made if the user's movements around the site are not tracked.
> --
> Björn Höhrmann · · Am Badedeich 7 · Telefon: +49(0)160/4415681 ·
> 25899 Dagebüll · PGP Pub. KeyID: 0xA4357E78 · 

Received on Thursday, 13 October 2011 19:52:39 UTC