The Federal Trade Commission's December 2010 report on consumer privacy in the internet age concludes that industry self-regulatory efforts have been inadequate. The report proposes, among other potential remedies, the implementation of a ''Do Not Track'' mechanism akin to the FTCs ''Do Not Call'' registry, under which consumers may opt-out on a global basis from being tracked while browsing online.
There is broad consensus that the FTC's Do Not Call registry, and similar industry administered Do Not Mail programs, have been largely successful in curbing perceived marketing abuses and providing appropriate options to consumers. But the Do Not Track mechanism envisioned by the FTC would dramatically expand the right to privacy in the United States and, more pragmatically, is likely to lead to undesired and potentially disruptive consequences.
These consequences, on balance, may harm the very consumers the FTC seeks to protect.
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