Two opposing groups are working on a compromise that would define not only what “Do Not Track” means, but some rules that online advertisers would have to follow.  So far, the negotiations are not going so great.

The consumer privacy side is represented by the Tracking Protection Working Group (TPWG) and the advertisers are represented by the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA.)  It’s important to both groups that they reach a consensus, or one will be found for them by the feds.  And, more than likely neither side will be happy with that.

Here are the primary arguments between the two groups as reported by Zach Walton for WebProNews
1.    They do not agree on a definition of tracking.

2.    Definitions of collecting, retaining, using and sharing data.

3.    The use of unique identifiers.  These are numbers, codes, social media id’s, e-mail addresses, and more.  The collection of this kind of data allows an advertiser to pinpoint a particular person with a very targeted message.  This is also the kind of information that the TPWG objects to and that which is most coveted by the DAA.

4.    “The effects of user choice. Under the June text, the Do Not Track mechanism would opt the user out of its broader definition of tracking. Under the DAA proposal, targeting of advertisements would not be affected by the Do Not Track standard; instead, users would use the separate DAA opt-out mechanism if they wished to limit targeted advertising.”  In other words, the DAA wants Do Not Track on a browser to “not count.”  They want to be able to ignore that and force the consumer to go to a separate website to opt-out.

As you may know, some companies are making their own decisions about tracking.  Microsoft’s Internet Explorer will have “Do Not Track” as the default setting, and it was reported recently that Mozilla’s Firefox will block all third party cookies.  The DAA is not happy about that.

So, it really does come down to this:  If there is no agreement reached, Congress or the President by Executive Order will step in and impose their opinion of what should happen.  It’s a risk to both parties (The DAA and the TPWG) to end up with that as the last choice.