W3C For Immediate Release

W3C Welcomes White House Support for Do Not Track Technology from the World Wide Web Consortium

http://www.w3.org/ —23 February 2012— Today the White House announces a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights and support for W3C's Do Not Track technology:

“In response to calls from the Administration and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), leading Internet companies and online advertising networks are committing to use Do Not Track technology from the World Wide Web Consortium in most major web browsers to make it easier for users to control online tracking.”

W3C is building consensus around global Web technology that will allow users to express a preference regarding being tracked online, and what is necessary to comply with the user's preference. W3C welcomes support from the US Government for the steps that industry and civil society are taking within W3C to give users meaningful privacy choices and options for consent.

“Personal privacy on the Web is one of the most important policy and technical issues of the decade,” said Dr. Jeff Jaffe, W3C CEO. “Standards for online consumer privacy should be developed in a global forum, led by industry, with multistakeholder participation. W3C is well-positioned as the forum to address complex online privacy issues.”

Tracking Protection Approach to User Privacy

The Internet and Web have enabled unprecedented economic and social benefits. A combination of trends has elevated online privacy to a mainstream concern. In April 2011, W3C began standards work about Do Not Track technology with the advertising industry, publishers, privacy advocates, major browser vendors, regulators, telecommunications companies, and other industries. This approach, expected to become a standard in 2012, offers several advantages over alternatives currently in use, including:

Multistakeholder Approach to Industry and Regulatory Consensus

Multiple governments have taken visible measures to protect their citizens' online privacy, including Web tracking. Fourteen months ago, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a staff report on privacy that endorsed a Do Not Track mechanism. Eight months ago, European Commissioner Neelie Kroes laid out her challenge to standardize Do Not Track by June 2012. In January 2012 both Commissioner Kroes and FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz addressed a meeting of the W3C Tracking Protection Working Group to reiterate the need for a multistakeholder solution to online privacy.

“W3C's work on Web privacy benefits from participation by diverse industries, civil society, and regulators,” said Thomas Roessler, W3C Technology and Society Domain Lead. “Today's commitment from advertisers to use W3C technology is an important step. We welcome continued contributions from technical experts, policy experts, and regulators alike to the W3C Tracking Protection Working Group as it defines Do Not Track.”

About the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international consortium where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards. W3C primarily pursues its mission through the creation of Web standards and guidelines designed to ensure long-term growth for the Web. Over 340 organizations are Members of the Consortium. W3C is jointly run by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the USA, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France and Keio University in Japan, and has additional Offices worldwide. For more information see http://www.w3.org/


Ian Jacobs, <w3t-pr@w3.org>, +1.617.253.2613, or Karen Myers +1.617.253.5509.