Digital Advertising Alliance managing director Lou Mastria blasted Microsoft and Mozilla for ignoring an agreement struck at the White house in early 2012 over what “Do Not Track” means when it comes to web advertising.
Back then, the internet industry came to an historic agreement: Web browser makers would give consumers an option to opt out of being tracked by cookies, the bits of software advertisers drop onto your web browser to record your web activity and target you with ads. This opt-out option was called Do Not Track. The FTC would enforce the requirement.
But Microsoft and Mozilla, which makes Firefox, have both since announced they will make new browsers that come in a default “Do Not Track” position, so that users must opt in — not opt out — to tracking if they want. This threatens the cookie-rich environment that advertisers need to target users — and that web sites need to ensure things work properly on the internet.
Mastria, talking to Adweek, accused the two companies of reneging on the pact:
Somewhere two companies [Microsoft and Mozilla] took the standard and watered it down. We thought we had an agreement that it [Do Not Track] would be off [not on] by default. I hope [these two companies] aren’t intractable. Microsoft and Mozilla were there at the White House and agreed to the same agreement we did; we’re hopeful we can get back to that.
He’s got a tough row to how: Microsoft is getting out of the advertising business and Firefox isn’t in it, so both companies have got nothing to lose by siding with consumers who don’t want to be tracked.
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