2 weeks ago The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced plans to create a “Do Not Track” list for internet browsers that would operate much like the “Do Not Call” list does for phones. The plan would mandate that browser designers (Microsoft’s Interenet Expolorer, Mozilla’s FireFox, Apple’s Safari, and a host of others) implement a feature designed by the FTC. The feature would surely be costly for both the public and private sectors to design and implement.A WTOL reporter writes:
In a report released Dec. 1, the commission endorses a “Do Not Track” system that can forbid companies to track an individual’s internet browsing activities… The report stated that companies, when left to self-regulate privacy, were not doing enough.
The problem is, this is much less a protection of privacy and much more an invasion of the free-market than it sounds. All the major browsers could, within 3 clicks (I know, I tried it) shut off all tracking. Why would anyone want to do that? I have no clue. Tracking is one of the most innovative, positive, and useful free-market innovations ever to happen to marketing. I love the idea that I get ads targeted to my taste and no longer have to see campaign ads for Rahm Emmanuel or banners to find Christian Singles in my area. But, I digress. You can turn off tracking with ease… and it just got easier.
In another private market victory that makes the FTC (miraculously) look even less neccesary than we thought, Microsoft has announced its plan to create a completely private-market driven do-not-track list. The list would be controlled (opt-in/out) by a simple click of one button in IE9.
The software giant said the next version of its browser, Internet Explorer 9, will allow users to stop certain websites and tracking companies from gathering information about them. The Wall Street Journal broke the story:
Users will be able to subscribe to something called “tracking protection lists”—lists of the Web addresses used by tracking companies. Internet Explorer would then automatically block those companies from the user’s computer.
I’m starting to keep a running score in the game to determine who best can adapt to consumer demands. Right now the score sits at Private Market: 1,000,001 Government Bureaucracy: 0.