MediaPost reports on comments by Federal Trade Commissioner Julie Brill concerning Do Not Track privacy programs:
The ad industry’s self-regulatory group Digital Advertising Alliance recently drew praise from some advocates for promising to honor a browser-based do-not-track header. But the news also renewed questions about what “do-not-track” means to ad companies. […]
The Digital Advertising Alliance also prohibits members from collecting any information about Web users in order to determine their eligibility for employment, credit, health care or insurance. But self-regulatory principles allow companies to track consumers for purposes like analytics, frequency capping and site optimization, even when consumers have opted out of online behavioral targeting.
But some advocates say that companies should completely stop gathering data about consumers when they opt out of online ad targeting.
On Friday, Federal Trade Commissioner Julie Brill appeared to agree with those advocates. “For me, one of the most critical points is that Do Not Track is not just Do Not Target … but also, when the consumer so chooses, Do Not Collect,” she said in a keynote address at a privacy conference held at Fordham Law School. […]
The commissioner also questioned whether “heightened protections” for consumers are needed when companies used relatively mundane data to draw conclusions about sensitive conditions. She referenced recent newspaper articles about how Target deduced certain consumers’ pregnancies, and said the practice raised concerns even if the predictions were based on “innocuous data,” like the purchase of lotions and newborn-size diapers.