Re: Tracking Preference Expression - Call for consensus on Last Call

Dear Co-Chairs,

Thank you for posting a snapshot of the Tracking Preference Expression (“TPE”) Editor's draft and asking for the consensus of the Tracking Protection Working Group (“TPWG”) to advance the TPE to the Last Call Working Draft.  The Co-Chairs have also requested that objections that are based on technical reasons or implementability of the TPE be submitted to the public mailing list.  The Co-Chairs further stated that silence by TPWG participants regarding the submission of the TPE to Last Call would be taken as support.

The NAI respectfully submits the following:

NAI firmly believes in the fundamental principles of notice, transparency and choice for consumers.  Consumer trust is critical for the success of the digital ecosystem.  We have also believed that a browser-based choice mechanism could be a useful tool for consumers to express preferences about collection and use of information.  However, NAI does not support the TPE going to Last Call at this time for at least the following reasons:

First, as many participants have repeatedly emphasized, the TPE is not a pure technical protocol specification because it contains compliance components.  According to the W3C TPE Editor’s Draft from June 25, 2013: “A companion [compliance] document . . . defines many of the terms . . . notably ‘party’, ‘first party’, and ‘third party’. “  The only definitions found in the June 25 TPE were “user agent,” “permitted use,” and “user-granted exception.”  The W3C  June 22, 2013 TCS (compliance document) Draft appropriately contained the compliance-related definitions for “party,” “first party,” and “third party,” plus other compliance related definitions such as “deidentified” data, “tracking,” “collects,” “retains,” “uses,” and “shares.”  It is clear from the initial home of these definitions only in the TCS that these definitions were contemplated as and indeed are, compliance-related definitions.  But the Co-Chairs chose to port these compliance-related definitions into the TPE.  Many participants disagree with that approach.

Second the technical approach of the TPE lacks a method by which the origin of the DNT signal can be validated to ensure that the signal was set as the result of an informed user choice.  The stated goal of the TPE protocol “is to allow a user to express their personal preference . . . .” “The basic principle is that a tracking preference expression is only transmitted when it reflects a deliberate choice by the user.  In the absence of user choice, there is no tracking preference expressed.”  (TPE Section 4).  NAI agrees with this stated principle but the TPE does not provide the necessary requirements for enforcing this principle within the protocol or for determining a rogue DNT signal.  Without a locked down DNT signal, the server cannot determine whether the DNT signal is a valid signal.

Best regards,


Jack L. Hobaugh Jr
Network Advertising Initiative | Counsel & Senior Director of Technology 
1620 Eye St. NW, Suite 210 Washington, DC 20006
P: 202-347-5341 |

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On Apr 14, 2014, at 1:22 PM, Matthias Schunter (Intel Corporation) <> wrote:

> Dear members of the Working Group,
> we believe we have satisfied the requirements of the charter for the Tracking Preference Expression specification. Therefore, we have posted a snapshot of the TPE Editor's draft and would like to ask for the consensus of the group to advance the document to Last Call Working Draft:
> Please submit your support or potential objections to the mailing list by the time of the WG call on April 23. 
> Since our work was aimed at the recommendation track from the beginning, we consider silence as support. If you object the advancement based on technical reasons or unimplementability of the spec, please submit these objections to the mailing list. 
> Please note that only new inputs will be considered, i.e. emails re-raising issues the WG has already resolved is unlikely to be considered at this time.
> With Last Call our work on the specification will not be done. We will then ask for public reviews and comments on the TPE spec by June 18, and continue our work based on this external feedback on the TPE. Additionally, we resume our work on the TCS specification.
> Regards.
>  Justin Brookman, Carl Cargill, Matthias Schunter + W3C Team

Received on Wednesday, 23 April 2014 15:39:53 UTC