The FTC has updated its consumer information page to provide redesigned guidance on Online Tracking. The newly updated guidance is designated to provide consumers with information on variant methods of tracking, how they work, and how consumers can control such tracking.
The updated guidance updates and broadens the previous guidance, called "Cookies: Leaving a Trail on the Web" (last updated in November 2011), which mainly addressed cookies, including first-party cookies, third-party cookies, and flash cookies. It addresses new forms of online tracking (e.g., device fingerprinting, cross-device tracking), new tracking technologies (e.g., use of unique device identifiers or HTML 5 cookies), how tracking in mobile apps occurs, and how consumers can generally limit or block tracking online in apps or across devices. Moreover, in its updated guidance, the FTC recommends that users should use "tracker blockers" which block most of the hidden third- party software hidden in webpages that aid advertisers to trace users and their browsing habits.
Although the updated guidance is directed at consumers, it can also assist businesses comprehend how those online tracking technologies work, and identify what the FTC anticipates businesses should do.