Last updated: October 5, 2012 - 8:05am
An effort to develop an easy way for consumers around the world to avoid being tracked and targeted by Internet advertisers appeared to hit an impasse, as privacy advocates and industry representatives accused each other of scuttling the process.
The closed-door meeting organized by W3C, the global standards group that promotes good governance of the Internet, failed to produce a consensus on how to allow consumers to simply and effectively declare their “do not track” preferences on Web sites. The talks foundered on main issues like the extent and types of data that advertisers could continue to collect even after consumers indicated they no longer wanted to be followed. The conference is not expected to produce a final resolution, and other meetings could be scheduled before the end of January, when the group is set to disband. But the stakes for Internet users are high and boil down to who determines the limits and protections of online privacy on the Internet: the businesses running the Web, which is largely the current status quo, or the consumers who use it. For the moment, privacy advocates say the status quo is winning out.
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