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Re: Action-101: Revise text for Issue-6, What are the underlying concerns?

From: John Simpson <john@consumerwatchdog.org>
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2012 10:15:08 -0800
Message-Id: <18736A70-A139-4385-BE7D-88EB690143E0@consumerwatchdog.org>
Cc: public-tracking@w3.org, "Aleecia M. McDonald" <aleecia@aleecia.com>, Matthias Schunter <mts@zurich.ibm.com>, Nicholas Doty <npdoty@w3.org>, Thomas Roessler <tlr@w3.org>
To: Rigo Wenning <rigo@w3.org>
Thanks, Rigo.  I agree shorter is better.  I'll work on some cuts.

Could you offer a few sentences that covers the protection of democracy aspect?

Best regards,

On Feb 11, 2012, at 12:57 PM, Rigo Wenning wrote:

> John, 
> thanks for the text. Two remarks:
> 1/ I think it is too long
> 2/ While the consumer-protection aspect is clearly stated, the protection of 
> democracy aspect is not clear and is hidden in the "human rights" statement.
> While I understand that you only talk from a consumer standpoint, consumption 
> is not the only value we should care about. 
> Best, 
> Rigo
> On Thursday 02 February 2012 13:15:05 John Simpson wrote:
>> Colleagues:
>> Following completes Action-101, revise draft text for the the Compliance and
>> Scope Specification,  Issue-6, based on feedback from the mail list.
>> John
>> ---------------------------
>> Issue Number: Issue-6
>> Issue Name:
>> What are underlying concerns? Why are we doing this? What are people afraid
>> of?
>> Issue URL:
>> http://www.w3.org/2011/tracking-protection/track/issues/6
>> Section number in the FPWD: 2.1 Goals
>> Contributors to this text:
>> John M. Simpson
>> Kevin Trilli
>> Description:
>> Explaining stakeholders' concerns and the reasons to offer Do Not Track help
>> put the Tracking Compliance and Scope standard in context so its importance
>> will be understood.
>> Specification:
>> The user experience online involves the exchange of data across servers. At
>> the most basic level, online communication requires the exchange of IP
>> addresses between two parties. Completion of e-commerce transactions
>> normally involves the sending of credit card numbers and user contact
>> information. However, the user experience also often involves unintentional
>> disclosure of data and the commercial compilation of many different kinds
>> of user data by different entities. Much web content is supported by
>> advertising and much of this advertising is linked to either the content of
>> the page visited or to a profile about the particular user or computer.
>> Complex business models have arisen around these online data flows.
>> Exactly how this information is gathered and used is not clear to most
>> users. Moreover, users have repeatedly expressed concerns about the use of
>> their data,  as this data can be considered personal or even sensitive. 
>> For example, a Consumers Union Poll
>> (http://www.consumersunion.org/pub/core_telecom_and_utilities/006189.html )
>> found that 72 percent or respondents are concerned that their online
>> behaviors were being tracked and profiled by companies. A poll conducted
>> for Consumer Watchdog by Grove Insight found 80 percent support for a "Do
>> Not Track" feature
>> (http://insidegoogle.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/wfreInternet.release1.p
>> df). TRUSTe featured two research studies attempting to quantify consumer
>> concerns around tracking in mobile (April 2011)
>> (http://www.truste.com/about_TRUSTe/press-room/news_truste_mobile_privacy_s
>> urvey_results_2011) and more generally around OBA (July 2011)
>> http://www.truste.com/ad-privacy/TRUSTe-2011-Consumer-Behavioral-Advertisin
>> g-Survey-Results.pdf)  The Special European Barometer 359  (
>> http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_359_en.pdf) found that
>> 54 percent of respondents were uncomfortable with the fact that websites
>> "use information about your online activity to tailor advertisements or
>> content to your hobbies and interests."
>> In non-US jurisdictions, consumers have a different, and higher, expectation
>> around privacy, which stems closer to a fundamental "right" granted to them
>> as part of their citizenship of a particular country.  The concept of
>> non-permissive collection of their browsing behavior and personal
>> information is antithetical to their fundamental values and expectations of
>> how they should be treated online.
>> In response to such concerns in 2007 several public interest groups
>> including the World Privacy Forum, CDT and EFF, asked the U.S. Federal
>> Trade Commission to create a Do Not Track list for online advertising. The
>> idea was compared to the popular  "Do Not Call" list administered by the
>> Commission.  Other groups around the world have followed suit like eDAA and
>> Canada, and are in some cases pushing for an express consent model (opt-in)
>> vs. opt-out model.
>> It became clear that a Do Not Track list was impractical, but support for
>> the concept of empowering users to have greater control over the
>> information that is gathered about them has continued.  Providing more
>> transparency about data flows and empowering users to control their data,
>> will bolster users' confidence in the Internet. Such an outcome is a win,
>> win for business and consumers alike.
>> The accompanying Tracking Preference Expression recommendation explains how
>> a user, through a user agent, can clearly express a desire not to be
>> tracked. This Tracking Compliance and Scope recommendation sets the
>> standard for the obligations of a website that receives such a DNT message.
>> Taken together these two standards should have three substantial outcomes:
>> Empower users  to manage their preference around the collection and
>> correlation of data about Internet activities that occur on different sites
>> and spell out the obligations of sites in honoring those preferences when
>> DNT is enabled. Provide an exceedingly straightforward way for users to
>> gain transparency and control over data usage and the personalization of
>> content and advertising on the web. Enable a vibrant Internet to continue
>> to flourish economically by supporting innovative business models while
>> protecting users' privacy. Examples and use cases:
>> 1.	Several of the stated research studies have shown that when consumers are
>> asked about their preferences around tracking, usually a large majority
>> state they do not wish to be tracked under any circumstances, even when
>> told of how the tracking is to be used (e.g., to provide relevant
>> advertising).
>> 2.	However, research of this type doesn't often map to reality when it comes
>> to actual behavior of consumers using technology to control this
>> preference.  Examples include: a. Users that block 3rd party cookies by
>> default, or that clear their cookies after each setting. b. Users of third
>> party privacy add-ons to help manage their privacy. c. Users that have seen
>> the AdChoices icon, clicked on it and opt-ed out of tracking in the current
>> DAA regime. d  Recent DNT data from Mozilla shows a very small minority of
>> uptake and usage.
>> In each of these cases, a very small minority have chosen to use these
>> technologies.  But, it can be argued that for the average user, all of
>> these methods are just complex to use and as such a simpler framework is
>> needed.  Hence, why consumer advocacy and governments intervene.
>> 3.	Users are often offered a free ad-supported application or service (vs. a
>> paid-for equivalent) and still continue to select free apps when given the
>> choice.  [The underlying assumption is that they associate "seeing apps"
>> with "tracking".]
>> 4.	In the EU, the issue of choice takes a higher level position of human
>> right based upon Article 8 of The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the
>> European Union and Article 8 of The European Convention on Human Rights,
>> the former saying,"Such data must be processed fairly for specified
>> purposes and on the basis of the consent of the person concerned or some
>> other legitimate basis laid down by law." In this case, it is argued that
>> all citizens should offer express consent prior to allowing any tracking
>> that is not absolutely critical to delivering the fundamental function of
>> the visited website.
>> 5.	Another level to this argument argument  is that everyone is at least due
>> transparency and the *option* to express a preference with the belief that
>> that preference will mean something (accountability).  This is a
>> fundamental right in the value exchange of personal information online,
>> especially when data is already being collected without that person's
>> knowledge or explicit permission.  Whether it is opt-in or opt-out can vary
>> by location of course.  If such system was prevalent then perhaps  more
>> people would change their minds on willingness to be tracked.
>> ----------
>> John M. Simpson
>> Consumer Advocate
>> Consumer Watchdog
>> 1750 Ocean Park Blvd. ,Suite 200
>> Santa Monica, CA,90405
>> Tel: 310-392-7041
>> Cell: 310-292-1902
>> www.ConsumerWatchdog.org
>> john@consumerwatchdog.org

John M. Simpson
Consumer Advocate
Consumer Watchdog
1750 Ocean Park Blvd. ,Suite 200
Santa Monica, CA,90405
Tel: 310-392-7041
Cell: 310-292-1902

Received on Monday, 13 February 2012 18:15:27 UTC

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