W3C announces web-tracking privacy protection group

Google, Opera do not back Do Not Track


The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has announced the creation of a Tracking Protection Working Group to address online privacy concerns, but the task of getting all the players to agree on what standards should be adopted could yet be a sticking point.

It said the group had ambitious plans to publish standards as early as mid-2012.

The first meeting of the collective takes place on 21-22 September.

"Our task here is to deliver a set of standards that enables individuals to express their preferences and choices about online tracking, and enables transparency concerning online tracking activities for users and the public alike," said the W3C in a blog post yesterday.

"Mechanisms that enable the enforcement of these preferences will be another important element of the work. At the same time, many business models on the web as we know it rely heavily on advertising revenue."

The group noted that data watchdogs in Europe and the US were asking online publishers and advertisers to agree on a so-called Do-Not-Track standard.

Microsoft and Mozilla have already been working on what some might consider to be "technical solutions" to the problem many netizens have with being tracked by ad outfits online.

The W3C said that Microsoft and Mozilla's proposals would provide the basis for the group's work.

However, as is so often the case with establishing standards industry-wide, not everyone agrees on the Do-Not-Track mechanism that's already available, for example, in Mozilla's Firefox 6 browser.

Google and Opera Software don't support DNT.

"A critical element of the group's success will be broad-based participation: we look forward to having browser vendors, search engines, advertising networks, regulators, civil society actors, and many other interested parties involved in the work that we'll do," said the W3C.

The Tracking Protection collective has taken on a pair of "industry-sponsored co-chairs" to lead the group.

It said that Aleecia M McDonald, who recently joined Mozilla as senior privacy researcher, had signed up to the task.

However, the other chair remains anonymous for now. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • There’s a wave of ransomware coming down the pipeline. What can you do about it?

    AI can help. Here’s how…

    Sponsored The Colonial Pipeline attack earlier this year showed just how devastating a ransomware attack is when it is targeted at critical infrastructure.

    It also illustrated how traditional security techniques are increasingly struggling to keep pace with determined cyber attackers, whether their aim is exfiltrating data, extorting organisations, or simply causing chaos. Or, indeed an unpleasant combination of all three.

    So, what are your options? More people looking for more flaws isn’t going to be enough – there simply aren’t enough skilled people, there are too many bugs, and there are way too many attackers. So, it’s clear that smart cyber defenders need to be supplemented by even smarter technology incorporating AI. You can learn what this looks like by checking out this upcoming Regcast, “Securing Critical Infrastructure from Cyber-attack” on October 28 at 5pm.

    Continue reading
  • Ransomware criminals have feelings too: BlackMatter abuse caused crims to shut down negotiation portal

    Or so says infsec outfit Emsisoft

    Hurling online abuse at ransomware gangs may have contributed to a hardline policy of dumping victims' data online, according to counter-ransomware company Emsisoft.

    Earlier this month, the Conti ransomware gang declared it would publish victims' data and break off ransom negotiations if anyone other than "respected journalist and researcher personalities" [sic] dared publish snippets of ransomware negotiations, amid a general hardening of attitudes among ransomware gangs.

    Typically these conversation snippets make it into the public domain because curious people log into ransomware negotiation portals hosted by the criminals. The BlackMatter (aka DarkSide) gang's portal credentials (detailed in a ransom note) became exposed to the wider world, however, and the resulting wave of furious abuse hurled at the crims prompted them to pull up the virtual drawbridge.

    Continue reading
  • Windows XP@20: From the killer of ME to banging out patches for yet another vulnerability

    When NT and 9x became one

    Feature It was on this very day, 20 years ago, that Microsoft released Windows XP to General Availability.

    Regarded by some as the cockroach of the computing world, in part due to its refusal to die despite the best efforts of Microsoft, XP found its way into the hands of customers on 25 October 2001 and sought to undo the mess wrought upon the public by 2000's Windows Millennium Edition (ME). While ME used the Windows 9x kernel, XP was built on the Windows NT kernel, formerly aimed at the business market and a good deal more stable.

    It also upped the hardware requirements on its preceding consumer OS. Where ME recommended 64MB of memory, XP wanted at least 128MB. And although masochists could run ME on a VGA screen, XP insisted on a minimum of SVGA. It all seems rather quaint now, but could be a painful jump back in the day.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021