Today’s announcement by the FTC that they’re hoping for an expansion on the talks they’ve already had on a fully functional “Do Not Track” function for web-based data has had coverage focused on the desktop aspects on the whole thus far – but a mobile element looms. What will the FTC do about the undeniable masses of users out there today using the web with their smartphones, tablets, and in-betweens? As it turns out, they’ve addressed mobile in the same paper, though certainly in brief.
This paper released today by the FTC notes that they have seen some great progress with groups on the initiative for desktop browsing of the web already, saying that “the DAA has developed its own icon-based tool and has committed to honor the browser tools; and the W3C has made substantial progress in creating an international standard for Do Not Track. However, the work is not done. The Commission will work with these groups to complete implementation of an easy-to use, persistent, and effective Do Not Track system.”
However, as we are certainly part of a very mobile world these days, the more important aspect of all of this may well be what the FTC plans on doing about smartphone and tablet browsing of the web. What they’ve presented thus far to effectively stopper up user-less initiation of data tracking is a bit of a “call to action” before they do anything harsh to make it all happen. Have a peek at an passage from the Do Not Track paper itself:
“The FTC calls on companies providing mobile services to work toward improved privacy protections, including the development of short, meaningful disclosures. To this end, FTC staff has initiated a project to update its business guidance about online advertising disclosures. . . and will address, among other issues, mobile privacy disclosures and how these disclosures can be short, effective, and accessible to consumers on small screens. The Commission hopes that the workshop will spur further industry self-regulation in this area.” – FTC
Self-regulation it is! We’ll be tracking the FTC’s actions through the year to see how this Do Not Track initiative plays out – certainly in the Mobile world as well as desktop computing.