DuckDuckGo Requests Government's Help in Stopping Unauthorized Online Tracking!

There’s no doubt that online advertising exploits user privacy. There are a number of trackers in almost every ad-displaying site (or app) these days. These trackers collect a user’s information and send it to the advertiser. Over the past few years however, the Cambridge Analytica and other privacy scandals have increased the concern among internet users and there’s something that needs to be done.

DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg has developed a draft bill which goes by the name, The Do-Not-Track Act of 2019. According to Gabriel, giving the act a legal force will make it successful, unlike the previous attempt several years ago.

Weilberg’s approach is still in initial stage. However, it’s understandable why he is so concerned about the privacy of internet users, being a CEO of a privacy-first search engine himself. According to him, most modern browsers can be set to Do Not Track (DNT), but most of the websites violate it anyway.
"About a quarter of people have turned on this [DNT] setting, and most were unaware big sites do not respect it. That means approximately 75 million Americans, 115 million citizens of the European Union, and many more people worldwide are, right now, broadcasting a DNT signal.", explained a blog post published on SpreadPrivacy, owned by DuckDuckGo.
This is why Weinberg thinks that Government authorities should step in, so penalties could be enforced against sites and ad networks that violate the rules.

If the bill gets approved, all third-party tracking would be set to off by default for users transmitting the DNT signal. First-party tracking, on the other hand, will also be restricted to prevent abuse from renowned services. It should be noted that there will be some kinds of exceptions for research functions and network management.

Weinberg first pushed this idea is 2009. According to the Do Not Track standard, users who didn’t want to be tracked by online ads should make it clear, and websites were supposed to respect the users’ respective choices. However, everything fell apart in 2012 due to a number of reasons, mainly because of Internet Explorer violating the agreement, causing the ad networks and sites to start ignoring user preferences.

But now that the privacy scandals are at an all-time high, Weinberg believes that it’s the right time to set things in motion. Weinberg also thinks that the act could inspire a stricter GDPR style bill down the line.

Interestingly, a number of groups that were part of the Do Not Track standard 10 years ago do not want to be associated with it now and believe that there are other effective ways to tackle the privacy issues now. However, Weinberg still believes that it can make a big change.

This privacy-focused bill can stop advertisers from tracking internet users and their online activity
Photo: LinkedIn Sales Navigator

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