W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-tracking@w3.org > September 2012

Proposal: all exemptions to be opt-out, and identity to be declared.

From: Fred Andrews <fredandw@live.com>
Date: Sat, 29 Sep 2012 23:41:23 +0000
Message-ID: <BLU002-W9751D005DB8B59C0011253AA810@phx.gbl>
To: "public-tracking@w3.org" <public-tracking@w3.org>
Many in the advertising industry have been pointing out a need to collect some identifiable information to meet reporting requirements.  For example, a need to be able to record the country that an ad is delivered to.   Such collection conflicts with the charter of this group.   I propose that this matter be resolved by adding a UA identifier to the DNT header or to a complementary header, and to include the declared country of the user in the header.   Advertisers would be permitted to both use this identifier to track users and target ads and to use it for reporting purposes.  Users that do not want to be tracked may change the identifier as they deem necessary.  Since it is under user control, advertisers would presumable not be held responsible in contracts for differences between the users declared country and their actual country and advertiser would have a record for proof.

Many in the advertising industry have expressed a need for exemptions to 'Do Not Track'.  Any exemption without user choice conflicts with the charter of this group.  I propose to resolve this matter by requiring that all exemptions be assigned a UA header flag and that websites only be permitted the exemption when allowed by an explicit flag.  Local laws and law enforcement needs override the DNT code of conduct anyway so there is no need to include this in the document.  The exemptions would include first party use, make a distinction between first party use before a user has explicitly identified themselves and after, and include the use of UA fingerprinting, etc.   The server would be required to return the flags it is complying with as confirmation, and if DNT were deemed as negotiable then the server would return the flags it is prepared to comply with.

Some users have expressed a desire to be tracked and profiled and to have targeted ads delivered to them.  With this proposal they can choose a unique identifier for themselves which they can share among their user agents, and can declare their country so that they get appropriate ads even when connecting via a tunnel or ipv6.  Further they can enable all uses of their information.

Some users have expressed a desire not to be tracked at all.  This proposal allows them to opt-out of being fingerprinted and to ensure that all servers they connect to agree not track them for any purpose at to change their identity as they deem necessary.  I would imagine that users would at least agree to tracking after they have explicitly identified themselves to a website, by signing in, but a UA may wish to negotiate even this to make sure the user has really explicitly consented.

I believe this proposal meets the charter of this group far better that the current proposals and call on the current proposals to be rewritten and renegotiated along these lines.


Received on Saturday, 29 September 2012 23:41:50 UTC

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