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RE: ISSUE-45 ACTION-246: draft proposal regarding making a public compliance commitment

From: Shane Wiley <wileys@yahoo-inc.com>
Date: Wed, 5 Sep 2012 08:57:04 -0700
To: Justin Brookman <justin@cdt.org>, "public-tracking@w3.org" <public-tracking@w3.org>
Message-ID: <63294A1959410048A33AEE161379C8026207179542@SP2-EX07VS02.ds.corp.yahoo.com>

I'm not sure this was intended for the Response Header.  Would you feel more comfortable with a "Compliance" field in the well-known location?  This information is more for the consumer than it is for the UA.

- Shane

From: Justin Brookman [mailto:justin@cdt.org]
Sent: Wednesday, September 05, 2012 8:46 AM
To: public-tracking@w3.org
Subject: Re: ISSUE-45 ACTION-246: draft proposal regarding making a public compliance commitment

This adds an incredible amount of complexity to the DNT standard.  Under this proposal, the response header is now expected to include a value that corresponds to any number of policy statements on what the header should mean.  The point of the W3C standardization is to come up with one consistent approach; not a platform for any number of other authorities to message their own.  This puts a lot of burden on user agents (and users) to intermediate these potentially ever-multiplying definitions of what all the third parties on a site interpret DNT:1 to mean.

I think the existing text is substantially more reasonable for everyone involved.  I think even silence would be preferable to this approach as well.  Let's come up with a reasonable standard on what DNT:1 means, and servers can message whether they're not tracking as described in that standard.  This is not intended to be a compliance tool for every regulatory and self-regulatory regime around the world.

Justin Brookman

Director, Consumer Privacy

Center for Democracy & Technology

1634 I Street NW, Suite 1100

Washington, DC 20006

tel 202.407.8812

fax 202.637.0969





On 9/4/2012 8:51 PM, David Wainberg wrote:
This fulfills ACTION-246 (http://www.w3.org/2011/tracking-protection/track/actions/246), which relates to ISSUE-45 (http://www.w3.org/2011/tracking-protection/track/issues/45).

There are problems with the current proposed approach to issue 45. The current version does not accommodate implementation distinctions based on, for example, geography/jurisdiction, business model, or technology. It also creates unnecessary and counter-productive legal landmines that will spur companies to avoid implementing the full spec. We can provide for making legal commitments without this unwanted result.

I think the first point should be obvious. There will be a tremendous diversity of organizations, business models, and technologies to which DNT may be applied, either voluntarily or compulsorily, under a diversity of regulatory regimes. The spec needs to accommodate this diversity.

The more important point is that, if we make the mistake of tying the server response (the header or WKL) to a broad, legally-binding representation that goes well beyond the specific meanings of the responses, end-users will lose out because companies will avoid implementing the response mechanisms. The reality is that companies who may otherwise be eager to implement DNT will avoid making representations that could be construed in overly broad ways, that may be ambiguous, or that otherwise are potentially misaligned with what they do. Instead, companies will seek to make representations that unambiguously describe their practices. We should facilitate this, not make it difficult.

Note that I am definitely not saying that companies should be able to act contrary to what they represent in the response mechanism(s). That, however, is not a problem we need to solve. Companies will be held to account for any such misrepresentations anyway, regardless of what the spec says. And if the available responses are sufficiently precise and adequately defined, I think companies will implement them.

This proposal solves both problems. It will provide for the enforceable statement that the working group is aiming for, but it will also allow needed flexibility for servers operating under various regulatory regimes, and would do so especially for servers operating under multiple regulatory regimes. And, most important, it would create a mechanism whereby companies can clearly and accurately say what they do and then do what they say.

The proposal is the following:

 *   The compliance spec remains silent on the matter
 *   Add a required "compliance" field to the tracking status resource in the TPE, where the value indicates the compliance regime under which the server is honoring the DNT signal.
 *   The value of the compliance field is a 3-5 letter token indicating the applicable regulatory regime. Allowed tokens could include 3-letter country codes, e.g. USA, GBR, NLD, or designations for voluntary regimes, e.g. W3C, DAA, NAI, IABEU. My understanding is that an organization like IANA can manage a list of tokens in order to prevent collisions.
Received on Wednesday, 5 September 2012 15:58:19 UTC

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