The New York Times
December 3, 2010
WASHINGTON — Lawmakers examining the Federal Trade Commission’s recommendation for a “do not track” mechanism to restrict the monitoring of Internet users said that they supported stricter safeguards for consumer privacy, but raised questions on how the system would work.
Many also expressed concern that it would undermine one of the main pillars of the Internet’s growth — the development of free, advertising-supported content.
Even within the F.T.C. itself, there is not unanimous support for a do-not-track effort. William E. Kovacic, a Republican commissioner who was the agency’s chairman during the last year of the Bush administration, concurred with the decision to release the F.T.C. report on Wednesday. But he added that he believed the do-not-track recommendation was “premature,” and that the commission needed to present “greater support for the proposition that consumer expectations of privacy are largely going unmet.”
Some Democrats in the House and the Senate, however, have already embraced the idea of a do-not-track mechanism. On Thursday, Representative Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, said he would introduce a bill that would put in place such a system to prevent the tracking of children using the Internet.
At a House subcommittee hearing on Wednesday, Republicans generally expressed caution with varying degrees of support for stricter privacy measures. “We need to be mindful not to enact legislation that would hurt a recovering economy,” said Representative Ed Whitfield of Kentucky, the leading Republican on the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection.
“While I agree it is important to have consumers understand what information is being collected and how it is used,” Mr. Whitfield said, “we need to seriously discuss the do-not-track model and evaluate whether it accomplishes the appropriate objectives.”
This article was posted: Friday, December 3, 2010 at 10:56 am