I mentioned in a previous blog this month about a program called “Do Not Track” that would allow online users the ability to not have websites track them or have access to their personal information. While it since looks like an uphill battle to the point where it most likely won’t happen the way it was first laid out (I suspect the potential loss of income to advertisers spurred a revolt), I did read about an interesting development about the subject.
It seems that the Commerce Department is jumping on the bandwagon and wants to address the problem due to all the concerns about our private information being shared out there with places we would never allow if we’d been asked. Okay, can I just point out the irony here that TIME Magazine named Mark Zuckerberg Man of the Year for a company that is hugely responsible for sharing the aforementioned private information without our permission?
The report that’s currently out there is suggesting a series of codes of conduct be inked whereby companies be clear about what data they’re collecting and how it’s being used. You know, because that always works and companies are absolutely honest 100% of the time—until they’re caught, at which point there’s the threat of a prolonged trial and a settlement in which the company pays a fine while admitting to no wrongdoing. Does this sound familiar?
Anyway, the code would theoretically be enforceable, would set “clearer” limits on how the information could be used, make it secure and also allow consumers the opportunity to say “no” to some or all of the data they want to collect. This strikes me as a bit vague because it doesn’t stipulate if we are saying “yes” to some of the information shared or we’re only allowed to opt out of “some” of the information that’s going to be shared whether we want it to or not. See? It’s all in the wording.
But here’s the best part! The companies out there against the original “Do Not Track” idea are the one who are going to have a hand in developing these codes. Isn’t that like having a thief being told they can no longer steal, yet they’re put on a production line to package expensive jewelry without having their pockets checked before leaving the warehouse at the end of the shift?
It makes me proud that Trademark Productions actually has integrity and a code of conduct in which people hold themselves to. Too many places give the rest of us who work in web development a bad name.