The Digital Advertising Alliance's managing director, Lou Mastria, reacted to the Tracking Protection Working Group’s decision to reject the DAA’s draft proposal for a universal Do Not Track standard, calling it “unfortunate” and “adding more pressure” to meet the group’s upcoming deadline.
“I think we proposed something that was workable and did a lot to address the concerns raised by various stakeholders,” Mastria said. “We think that would have positioned us a little further ahead, but according to [TPWG co-chair] Peter Swire, we’re going to move in a different direction.”
The DAA, along with the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the Network Advertising Initiative and others, submitted a proposal earlier this month to the TPWG that would allow advertisers to continue collecting and using behavioral data while stripping the data of personally identifiable information.
After reviewing the proposal, TPWG co-chairs Swire and Mathias Schunter announced last night they had decided to reject the DAA's suggestion because it was "less protective of privacy and user choice than their earlier initiatives," according to a group memo.
The organization will instead implement an earlier document, known as the June draft, that would be "more likely to lead to a standard that reaches the group's objectives."
Mozilla's chief privacy officer, Alex Fowler, issued a statement supporting the TPWG’s decision: "Mozilla is pleased with the W3C co-chairs' decision to use the June Draft as the basis for the Do Not Track standard, and for recognizing that the DAA's alternate proposal would have been a step backwards in user choice and privacy. We will work with our W3C colleagues to standardize a Do Not Track solution that respects individual user intent while attending to valid commercial concerns."
The concept of user choice continues to be a contentious point. Advertisers have argued that because Do Not Track signals can be turned on by browsers and servers, it is unclear how many people are actively opting out of receiving ads. “More signals are being turned on, but whether humans are doing it is anybody’s guess,” Mastria maintained. “The reason we came up with the proposal was so we wouldn’t have to worry about who set the signal. Anyone can turn [the DNT] signal on. It could be your browser, your company’s router, etc., and that’s not really user choice.”