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"forced choice" user agent implementation of DNT

From: Dan Auerbach <dan@eff.org>
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2012 11:04:41 -0700
Message-ID: <50785BB9.70205@eff.org>
To: public-tracking@w3.org
Hi everyone,

There has been a lot of discussion on this list about user agents
respecting user preference when it comes to setting DNT:1. As a
temperature check, I want to make sure we have consensus about the
compliance of a "forced user choice" implementation of DNT. For example,
a browser during the installation process would have a screen with three
radio buttons, none of which are selected, which respectively denote
"turn DNT on", "turn DNT off", and "I do not wish to make a selection
regarding DNT". In order to proceed, the user would have to make a
selection, and nothing would be selected by default. This implementation
could appear in the installation process, or, say, as a splash screen
that the user must get through after a browser update.

I want to keep this question extremely focused. Let's please not bring
up any tangential conversations regarding the merits or drawbacks of
such an implementation related to user experience. That is up to the
browser vendor, and various vendors may have views on the subject, but
that it not the question at hand. Second, we could discuss the text that
appears besides the radio buttons, or how and if there is a link to more
information. But I'd like to sidestep that question for now. Assuming
there exists _some_ text that is acceptable to you, then assume that
text for the purposes of this question.

I think it is important to make sure we have consensus on this issue. If
I were an ad network, from a business perspective I think I would care
much more about the rate of adoption of DNT:1, instead of respecting
user preference. As such, I might object to a "forced choice"
implementation since some studies would suggest it would lead to quite a
high uptick in DNT:1 being set by users (e.g.
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2152135). But so far
I haven't heard anyone in the group express that sentiment, and the
conversation has centered around respecting user preference. I want to
by crystal clear that this commitment to user choice is the view of
everyone in this working group, and that there are no objections to
forced choice user agent implementations of DNT, modulo arguments about
the text.


Dan Auerbach
Staff Technologist
Electronic Frontier Foundation
415 436 9333 x134
Received on Friday, 12 October 2012 23:25:27 UTC

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