W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-tracking@w3.org > October 2011

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

From: Justin Brookman <justin@cdt.org>
Date: Thu, 13 Oct 2011 16:41:49 -0400
Message-ID: <4E974D0D.80201@cdt.org>
To: public-tracking@w3.org
I feel very strongly that we should retain the name "Do Not Track," both 
in the documents and in our public statements about the work of the 
group.  Certainly, "Respect My Privacy" is apt to considerably more 
misinterpretation by users as to what such a setting would or should 
accomplish.  I am I suppose vaguely sympathetic to the concerns that 
some (though not all) users will expect "Do Not Track" to do more or 
less than it does, but that will be the case no matter what we call this 
effort --- the average user does not know enough about the architecture 
of the internet to understand every implication of entering a url into a 
browser.  Does a user understand that an ISP will still be monitoring 
internet traffic for malicious communications no matter what we call 
this?  Should that really doom the effort?  Browsers today already offer 
"private browsing" or "incognito" mode---as long as the UX for those 
pages is very clear about the limitations of what those settings do, I 
think they should be viewed as positive, privacy-protecting features, 
and the same should apply for DNT.  It seems we made some good progress 
this last week in deciding that by and large the setting should be 
interpreted to apply primarily to third parties, and our views have been 
guided by our views of reasonable expectations, as they should continue 
to be.

Aleecia channeling Jules brings up some relatively narrow issues around 
geotargeting and appending that we should eventually discuss in both the 
first and third party context, but I don't think potential exceptions 
should alter our views of first-party passive clickstream collection as 
out of scope.  Signing off now that I have just read that Jonathan just 
posted pretty much the same thing as I wrote . . .

Justin Brookman
Director, Consumer Privacy Project
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 10/13/2011 4:08 PM, Brett Error wrote:
> That is fine.  But doing so doesn't address the concern that the public-facing name of this initiative/standard/feature sets the expectation that if a consumer turns in on, she won't be tracked.
>
> It may seem like a small issue, but I'm concerned that it limits the effectiveness of standard.
>
> -- Press headlines: "Even with Do Not Track turned on, websites are still tracking you!"
>
> -- Enough exceptions that make it seem like this is yet another click-wrap agreement to be ignored.
>
> -- User confusion and violated expectations-- arguably worse that the situation we are currently in where most consumers don't really know WHAT to expect from a tracking perspective.
>
> We have two ways to avoid this:
> 1) Stop calling it Do Not Track, and call it "Respect my Privacy" or the like.
> 2) Continue with Do Not Track, but make sure it clear it is merely a preference expressed by a user and that there are legitimate reasons it may not be respected.
>
> The first option is vastly superior, but I also understand the point of view that we've got some brand equity invested in the name "do not track".
>
> If we choose to continue on the current path pretending that the peeps could ever come to think of track as meaning something only involving multiple websites, so be it.  I'll just sit here (somewhat) quietly hating you all and I'll try to use my polite inside voice when I dance around saying "I told you so" in a few months. ;)
>
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: JC Cannon [mailto:jccannon@microsoft.com]
> Sent: Thursday, October 13, 2011 11:57 AM
> To: Brett Error; public-tracking@w3.org
> Subject: RE: ISSUE-5: What is the definition of tracking?
>
> Will limiting the discussion to "as it applies to DNT" help since it won't apply to first-party sites?
>
> JC
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: public-tracking-request@w3.org [mailto:public-tracking-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Brett Error
> Sent: Thursday, October 13, 2011 9:07 AM
> To: public-tracking@w3.org
> Subject: RE: ISSUE-5: What is the definition of tracking?
>
> I disagree. I have yet to find a consumer that would consider a first party tracking them on a single site to not be "tracking".
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: public-tracking-request@w3.org [mailto:public-tracking-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Aleecia M. McDonald
> Sent: Thursday, October 13, 2011 12:37 AM
> To: public-tracking@w3.org
> Subject: Re: ISSUE-5: What is the definition of tracking?
>
>
> On Oct 12, 2011, at 5:17 PM, Bjoern Hoehrmann wrote:
>
>> 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.
> While I will join in mourning the geekification of English, I think the idea that "tracking" (and, more usefully as Roy offers, DNT) does not match a dictionary definition seems not to pose a problem. Between words like cookies, spam, the web, and private browsing not actually being private, I think computer jargon is well established.
>
> I am trying to hear from folks who thinking tracking is something other than data flowing between two sites. On calls and in Boston I had the impression there are such views in the group. But if all is silence, perhaps I was mistaken, or perhaps they have been persuaded otherwise.
>
> 	Aleecia
>
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Received on Thursday, 13 October 2011 20:42:57 UTC

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