Tracking Protection Working Group Charter

This is a review version of the charter. Please refer to the final charter.

The mission of the Tracking Protection Working Group, part of the Privacy Activity, is to improve user privacy and user control by defining mechanisms for expressing user preferences around Web tracking and for blocking or allowing Web tracking elements.

Join the Tracking Protection Working Group.

End date31 July 2012
ConfidentialityProceedings are public
Initial Chairs Co-Chairs: To Be Announced
Initial Team ContactNick Doty, W3C/MIT (FTE %: 25)
Usual Meeting ScheduleTeleconferences: Weekly
Face-to-face: 3-4 per year


The Working Group will produce Recommendation-track specifications for a simple machine-readable preference expression mechanism ("Do Not Track") and technologies for selectively allowing or blocking tracking elements.

Proposed technologies for the user preference that the Working Group will consider include, but are not limited to, the use of an HTTP header to signal the preference and a site's response, and the use of a ECMAScript API or DOM property for the same purpose. For selective blocking of tracking elements, the Working Group will consider, but is not limited to, black and white listing, as proposed in the Web Tracking Protection submission.

Additionally, the Working Group will define the scope of the user preference and practices for compliance with it in a way that will inform and be informed by the technical specification. The group will actively engage governmental, industry, academic and advocacy organizations to seek global consensus definitions and codes of conduct.

The Working Group may investigate monitoring of implementation and conformance to Recommendations by both user agents and Web sites.

Success Criteria

Out of Scope

While guidelines that define the user experience or user interface may be useful (and within scope), the Working Group will not specify the exact presentation to the user.

The Working Group will not design mechanisms for the expression of complex or general-purpose policy statements.


The group expects to publish the following documents consistent with the above scope. The titles of the documents are indicative only.

The Tracking Preference Expression Recommendation should inform and be informed by the Definitions. The Working Group may also publish guides for implementation and compliance by user agents and Web sites.


The Working Group may publish test suites for technical specifications or reports evaluating compliance.


Note: The group will document significant changes from this initial schedule on the group home page.
Specification FPWD LC CR PR Rec
Tracking Preference Expression September 2011 December 2011 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012
Tracking Preference Expression Definitions and Compliance September 2011 December 2011 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012
Tracking Selection Lists September 2011 December 2011 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012

The Tracking Preference Expression and Definitions and Compliance Recommendations are necessarily linked and aligned; the Tracking Preference Expression (Do Not Track) specification should move to Proposed Recommendation status only with consensus on the associated Definitions and Compliance. Progress of the Tracking Selection List specification along the recommendation track is independent of the progress of the two Tracking Preference specifications.

The first face-to-face meeting will take place 21-22 September 2011 at MIT.

Dependencies and Liaisons

W3C Groups

Web Advertising Business Group (Anticipated)
Input from the advertising industry on common practices, priorities and business model issues will be essential.
Device APIs and Policy Working Group
Requirements and proposals for policy expression may provide useful insight.
Privacy Interest Group (Anticipated)
Since the TPWG is explicitly addressing privacy, the group will work closely with the Privacy Interest Group.
WAI Protocols and Formats Working Group
The group will work with WAI to address any accessibility issues that may arise from new tracking protection technology.
Internationalization Activity
The group will work with the Internationalization Activity to address any internationalization issues that may arise from new tracking protection technology.

Furthermore, the Tracking Protection Working Group expects to follow these W3C Recommendations:

External Groups

Internet Engineering Task Force Applications Area and Privacy Directorate
Review of HTTP header additions and privacy implications.

The task force working on defining tracking will actively seek collaboration with external groups including: government regulators in the US, EU and other jurisdictions, existing industry self-regulatory programs, consumer protection advocacy organizations and academics.

Public workshops may be used to invite participation and comments from a wider audience.


To be successful, the Tracking Protection Working Group is expected to have 10 or more active participants for its duration. Effective participation to Tracking Protection Working Group is expected to consume one work day per week for each participant; two days per week for editors.

The Working Group will actively seek out participants that reflect consumer privacy, advertising industry and regulatory perspectives. Chairs may choose to invite individuals to formally participate in the group, per the Invited Expert policy.

Participants are reminded of the Good Standing requirements of the W3C Process.


This group primarily conducts its work on the public mailing list public-tracking. The group may use multiple public lists to separate conversation of technical and non-technical deliverables. A member-only list may be created for administrative purposes only.

Information about the group (deliverables, participants, face-to-face meetings, teleconferences, etc.) is available from the Tracking Protection Working Group home page.

Decision Policy

As explained in the Process Document (section 3.3), this group will seek to make decisions when there is consensus. When the Chair puts a question and observes dissent, after due consideration of different opinions, the Chair should record a decision (possibly after a formal vote) and any objections, and move on.

This charter is written in accordance with Section 3.4, Votes of the W3C Process Document and includes no voting procedures beyond what the Process Document requires.

Patent Policy

This Working Group operates under the W3C Patent Policy (5 February 2004 Version). To promote the widest adoption of Web standards, W3C seeks to issue Recommendations that can be implemented, according to this policy, on a Royalty-Free basis.

For more information about disclosure obligations for this group, please see the W3C Patent Policy Implementation.

About this Charter

This charter for the Tracking Protection Working Group has been created according to section 6.2 of the Process Document. In the event of a conflict between this document or the provisions of any charter and the W3C Process, the W3C Process shall take precedence.

Nick Doty, W3C; Thomas Roessler, W3C; Rigo Wenning, W3C

$Date: 2012/09/21 08:09:54 $