This is the summary of an article by Wendy Davis, which talks about the problems faced by the ad industry as they try to implement “Do Not Track,” in particular, whether ad industries should stop collecting data from users set to “Do Not Track” or just stop sending them targeted advertisements. It talks about how survey shows majority of users don’t want their data collected if they have this setting. Here’s the link to the original behavioral targeting article: Study: Most Consumers Say Do-Not-Track Should Mean Do-Not-Collect.
A few years ago, the Federal Trade Commission or FTC was requested by privacy advocates to support a system that enabled people to “opt out” from behavioral targeting online. The FTC responded affirmatively, resulting into companies coming out with browsers that include a “do not track” header. When this option is switched on, a signal is sent out by the user, indicating that he or she does not wish to be tracked.
However, despite the existence of the Do Not Track policy, the advertising industry is still in the process of resolving some issues. One of these is the question of whether publishers and advertising networks should cease from gathering information from users with an activated “do not track” setting, or if they should cease merely from serving these people up with targeted ads. Despite current discussions and debates, matters such as these have not yet been settled.
What Consumers Really Think
Amidst the heated debates about the issues between privacy advocates, the advertising industry, and other stakeholders, learning about what consumers really think is also important. And this is the purpose behind a recent study by the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology. Notably, the survey revealed a surprising finding: majority or 87% percent of about 1,200 students had not even heard of what the Do Not Track proposal is all about.
Likewise, they Berkeley study also probed into what the consumers’ think the Do Not Track should be able to do. Majority or 60% shared that they would prefer it if Internet sites stopped gathering data from them. Meanwhile, 20% mentioned that they want all advertisements to be stopped, and 14% shared that they do not want to receive advertisements based on their previous online activities such as searching, surfing, and so on.
The study concludes by saying that majority of consumers do not want their information to be tracked and gathered, and that they expect the Do Not Track to be able to stop this.
Consumers’ Attitude toward Ads
The study also explains that based on past studies, Americans generally believe that there are privacy laws strong enough to protect them. Moreover, upon looking into the attitude of Internet users toward advertising, they also learned that most people think that online advertising is not particularly useful, and 50% even explained that they never click on advertisements at all. These findings show major insights about what consumers truly think.
Based on these findings, it is evident that there is still much to be cleared and talked about with regard to the Do Not Track, behavioral tracking, targeting, and online advertising in general. What’s more, as legislators and advertisers talk the issues out, consumers themselves should also have a say in the matter.