Do Not Track in the Short, Medium and Long Term

Since we last talked about Do Not Track on this blog, the Tracking Protection Working Group has continued the hard work of making decisions and driving to consensus. The Working Group is now preparing for a face-to-face meeting in October. Furthermore, W3C is holding a broader-looking workshop to take place in November.

Some of the key open issues for the TPWG have been around “permitted uses” — purposes for which compliant servers might continue to retain data from Do Not Track users, including, among others, security and fraud prevention. We are looking for consensus positions that will work for the whole group in order to make key decisions on permitted uses this month. I have myself contributed a proposal along the lines of what I think may be widely acceptable, based on the group’s discussions so far.

In some cases, the Working Group will use calls for objections, as described in the “Getting to Closed” document, to make decisions on divisive issues; the group has completed this process for the first time just this week and will continue to do so as necessary to ensure work progresses. Another “snapshot” public working draft is scheduled for this month. This draft will provide another good opportunity for public comments. In early October, the WG will meet in Amsterdam, hosted by IAB Europe, for three days of face-to-face meetings aimed at resolving other issues before the group and preparing for a Last Call draft that would initiate wider-scale review.

While we are working through these issues within the Tracking Protection Working Group, we also want the community to consider the directions of Do Not Track in the medium term, and think about privacy work to consider beyond the ongoing effort of Do Not Track. To that end, we’ll be holding a workshop on Do Not Track and Beyond at the end of November in Berkeley, California. Jan Schallab√∂ck and I will be co-chairing that event, with the help of an impressive and diverse Program Committee to review position papers, and it should be a great opportunity to chart W3C’s course for future privacy work.