The Slow Death of 'Do Not Track'

The Slow Death of "Do Not Track"

The F.T.C. outsourced its job to industry. The victim: Your privacy.

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***** Moderator's Note *****

The idea, known as "Do Not Track," and modeled on the popular "Do Not Call" rule that protects consumers from unwanted telemarketing calls, is simple. But the details are anything but.

The "Do Not Call" list also turned out to be a dud: as with most things that claim to protect orginary people these days, the "watchdog" has no teeth.

Bill Horne Moderator

Reply to
Monty Solomon
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In article you write:

This article makes the common mistake of imagining that do not track is even vaguely similar to do not call. It is not. Web browsers do not have phone numbers, so there's no way to create a list of people to track. And unlike DNC, violations are invisible. A DNC violation is obvious, a junk call. A DNT violation is an oddly relevant ad on a web site, or perhaps an insurance company turning you down because an illegal tracker told them you've been searching for info on diabetes (which was for your dog, but they guessed wrong.)

Actually, the FTC whacks DNC violators all the time, and has an active program coordinating DNC actions with peer agencies in other countries.* The problem is that in the past decade the price of making long distance phone calls has dropped to effectively zero, courtesy of VoIP, so junk callers are as likely to be in Bangalore as Baltimore. Much worse, the SS7 network that transmits control info including caller ID was designed for a world in which there were a small number of large trustworthy phone companies who all knew each other. These days any little VoIP operator can and does inject arbitrary crud making junk calls nearly impossible to trace. It's a harder problem than you might think -- when I make a VoIP call from a phone in my house in NY, the caller ID shows up as my Canadian cell phone. Is that "false"? If you call the number and the phone is turned on, the person who answers it is me.

The regulators understand that and have been beating on the telcos hard enough that they're starting to work on legal and technical changes to make SS7 data reasonably true. But it'll take a while.

R's, John

  • - I help them schedule the conference calls, and could listen in if there were any chance I might say something useful.
Reply to
John Levine

John -

I'm glad to hear that there is activity on this issue.

I've been trying, with very limited success, to get some support for my own proposal to make something happen. My two contacts with the FCC were dead ends.

Within the industry MAAWG organization, the only interest I've received is from the Canadian equivalent of the FCC, the CRTC, where it is known as the "trusted zone", a term coined by a Dutch consultant with a similar proposal. There it is considered a "long-term" solution and not getting immediate attention. They showed it to Canadian carriers, but I have so far received no feedback.

I've also aired the case in this newsgroup, with no response except from a couple of people I emailed directly, and they thought the proposal will work.

My proposal is at:

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Can you recommend any contacts among the regulators or telcos? Thanks for your help.


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