Congressmen interfere with W3C over Do Not Track


A sign of the times

Congressmen interfere with W3C over Do Not Track

Louis Goddard



In a move that shows just how high-profile an issue online tracking has become, the co-chairs of the United States’s Congressional bi-partisan privacy caucus have sent a letter to the W3C urging it to support the Do Not Track (DNT) standard. Addressing members of the Tracking Protection Working Group (TPWG), the two congressmen — Democrat Ed Markey and Republican Joe Barton — refer specifically to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 10, which was recently slapped down for enabling DNT by default.

“In anticipation of the next W3C Tracking Protection Working Group meeting in Bellevue, Washington from June 20-22, we urge W3C participants to commit to user control over both data collection and use”, reads the missive. “[W]e call on W3C participants to make the protection of consumer privacy a priority and support Microsoft’s announcement by endorsing a default Do Not Track setting.”

Whether members of the TPWG will take kindly to the Representatives’ interference remains to be seen. Ed Markey’s legislative director, Joseph Wender, has brought the letter to the attention of the group’s mailing list, but, as of the time of writing, he hasn’t received any replies.

We’re not sure if it’s strictly ‘unprecedented’, but it’s certainly an odd move. If your standards body is receiving pleading letters from Congress, you must be doing something right — that said, this particular story bears all the hallmarks of a PR push by hoary old legislators attempting to seem with-it and technologically savvy.

Louis Goddard

 Congressmen interfere with W3C over Do Not Track.

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