The Electronic Frontier Foundation and a number of other organizations will hold a press conference tomorrow calling for the creation of a national "Do-Not-Track" list, according to a report today in AdvertisingAge. While on face the creation of a method of opting-out of browser history and other tracking seems reasonable, as Steve Rubel points out - this is just the first shot in the coming Behavioral Tracking Wars.
Railing against cookies is back in style. The Whois system of publicly available records about who owns any particular website is under attack for privacy reasons.
In the vast richness that is the open web, personalization and recommendation are two of the most powerful areas of opportunity for all of us - advertisers included but also every user of the web. Having the opportunity to opt-out is good, especially on a case-by-case basis, but the Behavior Tracking Wars should not drive us into an online Dark Ages any more than it should bring about a Minority Report dystopia of ubiquitous tracking.
While vendors serving those of us who love information are moving to respect our desire to have control over our own aggregate data, this blogger fears that moves like this latest by the EFF run the risk of forcing the software vendors we interact with to let our data run down the drain unused. If you don't want vendors to control your data that makes perfect sense, but insisting that it not even be captured in the first place does not.