Tech Report: Online Content Providers Face ‘Do Not Track’ Standards Dilemma

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Diana Hicks, Keyboard

(CBS)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— There’s been a lot of discussion recently about proposals for ‘Do Not Track’ standards where computer browsers would allow internet users indicate to websites and data brokers that they don’t want web surfing habits tracked.

You would think that this would be something that would be universally accepted, but it is generating a degree of controversy.

Who would want to be followed around on the web? Well it turns out there’s actually plenty of consternation from the advertising community, but even some users that if Do Not Track is gotten rid of that it could have an economic impact on advertisers and on companies like Google. At the same time, it could impact consumers as well because if you take away Do Not Track, you lower the value of web advertising and content providers are compensated less for the advertising they sell, which could put pressure on them to find other ways to make money. That includes putting up pay walls or charging people.

Newspapers like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal that do charge people for access, but most don’t.

We understand there’s actually a mediation process going on right now between the advertising industry and some of the privacy advocates. Most of what’s being discussed right now involves giving the user the ability to decide whether or not they want to be given the ability to be tracked or whether they insist on not being tracked.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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