On December 2, 2010, ITIF Senior Analyst Daniel Castro testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection about a "Do Not Track" proposal for online privacy. The proposal arose from calls for a national "Do Not Track" feature for the Internet that is modeled after the national "Do Not Call" Registry that applies to telemarketing. Its purpose would be to provide consumers with a single, centralized mechanism to opt out of all online profiling for targeted advertising. However, in his testimony, Castro explains that such a mandate, if widely adopted, would significantly harm the current funding mechanism for the Internet ecosystem, resulting in less free Internet content and fewer free services. In addition, it would be costly to implement, difficult to enforce, and result in more intrusive and less relevant advertising for consumers.
Future of Privacy Forum to Host Expert Panel: “Do Not Track” Demystified
On Wednesday, December 1, 2010, ITIF Senior Analyst Daniel Castro will be participating at an event entitled "Do Not Track" Demystified: The technological possibilities and the roles of business and government in helping consumers manage online tracking. The event is hosted by the Future of Privacy Forum and will be held between 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM at the National Press Club. The event comes on the eve of a Congressional hearing to examine the need and feasibility of a federal law to control the tracking of consumers’ online activity for marketing and analytic purposes. This program will examine the role of technology in empowering consumers to control online tracking and whether there is a need for a new legal framework. Other panelists will include Jules Polonetsky (Future of Privacy Forum Co-Chair), Christopher Wolf (Future of Privacy Co-Chair), Chris Soghoian (Indiana University), Erica Newland (Center for Democracy & Technology), Sid Stamm (Mozilla Firefox), Arvind Narayanan (Stanford University), Adam Lehman (Lotame Solutions) and Michelle De Mooy (Consumer Action).
Policymakers Should Opt Out of "Do Not Track"
For the last few years privacy fundamentalists have called for a national Do Not Track feature for online advertising modeled after the national Do Not Call Registry. The purpose of a Do Not Track feature would be to provide consumers a single, centralized mechanism to opt out of all online profiling for targeted advertising. However, such a mandate would impose unnecessary costs on software developers, result in more intrusive and less relevant advertising for consumers, and, if widely adopted, significantly harm the current funding mechanism for the Internet ecosystem, resulting in less free Internet content and services.
Internet Wars: A Who’s Who Guide
Back in the day, there were no protesters outside corporate headquarters in Silicon Valley and no one had a position on net neutrality because no one knew what is was. But ten or 15 years in the life of the Internet is a long time, and today a person trying to follow the heated debate might need a field guide to sort through the wide array of groups and their philosophical or economic orientations. In the recent report Who's Who in Internet Politics: A Taxonomy of Information Technology Policy, ITIF enlightens the debate with just such a guide, laying out eight categories of interest groups and explaining the complicated relationships between them.
Who's Who in Internet Politics: A Taxonomy of Information Technology Policy
The debate about the future of the Internet is more politically charged than ever. Internet policy issues are becoming more central. All groups involved in Internet policy share a goal of a robust Internet ecosystem but have sometimes vastly different definitions of robust and different views on how to achieve that goal. In this report we identify nine distinct groups shaping Internet policy and how these groups view key Internet policy issues, including net neutrality, copyright, and privacy.
Network Policy and Economic Doctrines
Disagreements over how to craft Internet policy have become more and more contentious and political. Beyond the technical and engineering aspects are economic questions. The points of view of various stakeholders and participants on such matters as privacy, net neutrality, copyright and other issues stem from four major economic philosophies: conservative neo-classical, liberal neo-classical, neo-Keynesian and innovation economics.
In this paper presented at the 2010 Telecommunications Policy Research Conference, ITIF President Robert D. Atkinson analyzes how prevailing economic philosophies drive approaches to network policy in four key areas: broadband competition, net neutrality, copyright and privacy.
This article was published in the June 2011 issue of Telecommunications Policy.