Support for ad-tracking opt out [article from BBC]

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US privacy advocates and consumer bodies are seeking the creation of
an opt-out list for internet users who do not want to be tracked by
The "do not track" list would prevent companies from tailoring adverts
based on a user's web habits.

The groups behind the idea include the Center for Democracy and
Technology, Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Consumer Federation
of America.

They have approached the Federal Trade Commission to create the list.

The "do not track" list would be similar to the "do not call list" in
the US which stops phone advertisers calling households.

Personalised, or social, advertising is expected to be big business in
the coming years with Google, Yahoo and Microsoft all purchasing
online ad firms in recent months.

The "do not track" list would require advertisers that place
electronic cookies or tags on consumers' computers to register with
the FTC all domain names of the servers involved in such activities,
according to the groups.

"Online opt-outs should be as well-known and as easy as the Do Not
Call list," Mark Cooper, research director of Consumer Federation of
America, told Reuters news agency.

The list would prohibit advertisers from collecting and using
personally identifiable information about health and financial

It would also require independent auditing of companies using
behavioural tracking to ensure they upheld privacy standards.

While many search engines allow users to opt out of personalised
services, it often comes at the expense of being able to use mail
accounts and other tools.

Steve Rubel, a senior marketing strategist, at Edelman, wrote on his
blog Micro Persuasion: "Regardless of where the Feds decide to weigh
in, the noise around mining behavioural data and patterns and the
potential privacy implications is only going to get louder in the
coming months.

"All of this is going to make consumers even more aware of just how
much is being tracked."

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