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Consumer advocates want Do Not Track anti-cookie registry

Clear Private DataYou know the federal Do Not Call registry that lets US telephone customers sign up for a list to avoid telemarketers? Two consumer advocacy groups are asking the Federal Trade Commission to basically create the same kind of registry -- for the internet.

Now, let's pretend that a US agency could regulate the way that internet companies track your data for advertising and other purposes. How exactly would that work? One way would be for the the FTC would have to require every advertising firm and web site that's accessible in the US to use a potentially enormous list of consumers to figure which computers they can place cookies on and which computers they cannot.

Or the burden could be placed on consumers to sign up for a service like the Network Advertising Initiative, which places its own cookie on your computer to alert over a dozen major advertisers that you have chosen to opt-out of targeted ads. But if you happen to clean out your cookies accidentally, you'll need to reinstall the software. or if you happen across a page from a company that hasn't signed on, you could still be tracked.

We're not saying that consumers shouldn't be able to opt out of targeted advertising. We're just saying that the people asking for federal regulation seem to be either incredibly ambitious or they lack a basic understanding of how the internet works.

[via Techdirt and CNet]

Tags: advertising, cookies, opt-out, targeted advertising, TargetedAdvertising