FCC won't track Do Not Track

Consumer Watchdog request gets '403: Forbidden'

America's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has decided it won't intervene against companies that don't honour user Do Not Track requests.

The decision (PDF here) comes in response to a request by Consumer Watchdog, which in June asked the FCC to support users' Do Not Track browser settings.

The request put the FCC in something of a cleft stick, since its “net neutrality” decision earlier this year came with a commitment that it wasn't going to regulate individual providers.

As it explains in the Do No Track decision, when it classified broadband services as “a necessary conduit for passing information”, the FCC also determined that the rules that apply to voice providers (Section 222 of America's Communications Act) weren't a good fit with Internet providers.

The FCC said it “forbore from applying the section 222 rules to BIAS services, 'pending adoption of rules to govern broadband Internet access service in a separate rulemaking proceeding'”, because the 'net neutrality decision only applied to “the transmission component of Internet access”.

Instructing particular services like Google, Facebook, YouTube, Pandora, Netflix or LinkedIn to honour Do Not Track requests would be at odds with the FCC's decision to stay away fro regulating “edge providers”, it says. ®

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