The future of the Do-Not-Track working group remains unclear, according to a recent survey taken among its participants. Forty-three of the 100 or so working-group participants submitted responses to the survey, which proposed five paths for the group moving forward.
According to the survey, 17 participants voted that they have “no confidence” in the group and that all work should be discontinued. Some of the comments described the proceeding as “so flawed [that] it’s a farce.” Others called the progress made to date, “shameful.” Other participants remained somewhat more hopeful; though, ideas on how to achieve a more meaningful Do-Not-Track standard varied. Twenty-six participants voted against continuing to stay on the current path and resolving the remaining open issues as outlined in the proposal. The remaining proposals, which garnered the most votes, recommended splitting up the working group’s focus on establishing a technical means for sending a Do-Not-Track signal and establishing compliance standards for when a company receives a signal.
While the working group’s future may be in question, there may still be a glimmer of hope for finding a Do-Not-Track standard. The Digital Advertising Alliance, who recently departed from the working group, has said that it will start its own “process to evaluate how browser-based signals can be used to meaningfully address consumer privacy.” In addition, at least one state has taken proactive measures regarding Do-Not-Track. See our previous blog post on California’s new law requiring companies to disclose in their privacy policies how their websites and apps respond to a “Do-Not-Track” signal. We’ll continue to follow the industry’s efforts in this space.