Do Not Track – Doesn’t Need To Be Regulated, Probably Will Be
Do Not Track, the application of using a http field that would require applications on the Internet to turn off their tracking features has been a hotly debated issue in tech circles and amongst privacy concerned citizens.
The feature has now become a pawn in the high stakes battle between browser designers Microsoft and Mozilla. Microsoft’s newest iteration of Internet Explorer has included the technology, and Mozilla’s Firefox 4 due in a few weeks March 22nd will also carry the feature.
Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs has said that he doesn’t believe these types of privacy features need to be regulated, stating that, “It probably doesn’t need to be regulated, but it probably will be.” His reasoning is that consumers are demanding privacy features and to remain competitive in the broadband market, browser makers are answering the call.
Regulation may force the implementation of these features into browsers if there is consumer demand for regulation. It is uncertain at the moment whether regulation is necessary. Several things will need to be taken into account. Currently it is not know whether all browser makers will implement these types of features as Google and Apple have not announced any plans for Do Not Track privacy protections in their Chrome and Safari, respectively, browsers.
If all major players do this on their own the likelihood of disappointed users asking for these types of features to be enforced may be unlikely. If their are hold outs, however, then Kovacs may be correct in that we may see regulation on the issue even though it is most likely unnecessary.