Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez recently spoke to members of the advertising industry, urging them to provide "effective and meaningful privacy protection" to consumers with respect to online tracking. Her position reportedly surprised – and even frustrated – some attendees by implying that the Digital Advertising Alliance's self-regulatory programme does not do enough. She said that consumers feel "unease" with online tracking, and that they are still awaiting "an effective and functioning do-not-track system", which she characterised as being "long overdue".

In March 2013 Ramirez expressed some optimism that a solution would be reached among stakeholders if they use a "consensus-based approach". However, as the W3C Tracking Protection Group continues its attempts to work towards a solution, frustration may be setting in. Some stakeholders may feel that the time for legislation has come; recently Jay Rockefeller announced that he will hold a hearing with the Senate Commerce Committee next week to push his do-not-track legislation.

For further information on this topic please contact Joseph I Rosenbaum at Reed Smith LLP by telephone (+1 212 521 5400), fax (+1 212 521 5450) or email (jrosenbaum@reedsmith.com).