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Do Not Track & Regulating Information Services

Posted on 11.08.2015

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) dismissed a petition that would have imposed new requirements on online service provdiers like Google and Facebook. As a result, websites won't be forced to honor consumers "Do Not Track" requests.

Consumer Watchdog petitioned the FCC to require 'edge providers' (like Google, Facebook, YouTube, Pandora, Netflix, and LinkedIn) to honor 'Do Not Track' Requests from consumers. The proposed rule would have prevented online services from requiring consumers to consent to tracking in exchange for accessing Web services, preventing online services from sharing personal information of users with third parties when consumers send Do Not Track requests.


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When consumers enable the Do Not Track setting in their browsers, they send an HTTP header in an effort to opt out of third-party tracking conducted by analytics services, advertising networks, and social platforms. Many companies have committed to honor Do Not Track requests, but they are ignored for the most part.

Consumer Watchdog wanted the FCC to impose rules using its Title I and Section 706 authority to regulate "information services." The group pointed out that the FCC intends to impose new privacy rules on Internet service providers under Section 222 of the Communications Act, the privacy portion of the Title II common carrier regulations that the FCC is applying to broadband providers such as Comcast and AT&T. But those rules don't apply to websites.

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