More trouble for proposed Do Not Track flag

The proposed Do Not Track browser standard is turning into mud. Ad-dependent organizations already wanted the goalposts moved; now the advertising industry itself wants the goalposts to be the entire width of the field.

Marketing should be added to the list of "Permitted Uses for Third Parties and Service Providers" in Section 6.1 of the Tracking Definitions and Compliance Document.

And in a follow up:

Marketing as a permitted use would allow the use of the data to send relevant offers to consumers through specific devices they have used. The data could not be used for other purposes, such as eligibility for employment, insurance, etc. Thus, we move to a harm consideration. Ads and offers are just offers – users/consumers can simply not respond to those offers – there is no associated harm.

As far as anyone outside of committee mailing lists is concerned, the point of "Do Not Track" is just that. If marketers (or browser-makers) try to exploit the neutral nature of standards to end-run the public demand that the standard represents, they'll just encourage more aggressive client-side privacy controls from competitors.

This is surely a good thing: "All you get to see of your visitor is the IP address of a proxy server and the user-agent "Go Stuff Yourself!".

But it's easy to imagine (similarly hyperbolic) scenarios where it gets problematic: "If you want your site's ads to show in our browser, you have to join our ad certification program. It's such a nice site: sure would look ugly with a big red warning bar at the top."

The Do Not Track standard has crossed into crazy territory [Zdnet]