A "Do not track" button for increased online privacy?

By February 28, 2012
Keywords : Smart city, America
digital lock

The White House has created a set of rules to prevent companies from misusing personal information of Internet users. Those issues have been a major concern for web users lately, who have been restricting acces to their personal data more than ever.


While social networks usage has become mainstream, an increasing number of web users chose to grant access to their personal information to a limited number of people. As a recent Pew Research shows, managing privacy settings is now the norm among social network users, with 63% sharing their info with their friends only on Facebook, and 19% of sharing it with an enlarged network of friends of friends. Not only do they filter the access, but they also manage their account by deleting unsatisfactory comments (44%), removing their name from photos they were tagged in (37%) and “unfriending” people (63%). The Pew Research shows a growing number of people “unfriend” other Facebook users. As those privacy concerns are rising, the American Government has actually decided to issue a new bill protecting their citizen’s privacy on the Internet.

Preserving consumers' trust in web services

This bill is aimed at creating a set of rules to monitor the way companies can use personal information. The goal is to offer the same level of protection on the Internet as in the real world, preventing intrusion in consumers' private life. The American Government believes that protecting those elements is key to preserving consumers’ trust in online services and intends to curve the way Internet companies use personal information and give back more control to web users. This decision echoes directly concerns consumers have been expressing lately by unfriending others and ristricting access to their personal information.

Major tech companies support the bill

The priority is to enable web users to decide whether or not they want their information to be collected and increase transparency about the way those personal data are exploited. People must be able to easily understand the policies of online services about data and privacy, and should be able to choose what data they want to disclose. Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft for instance agreed to implement a "do not track" button enabling users to get more control over the information they share. While imposing major constraints, most Internet companies support the bill, including Google that updated its policy a few weeks ago for more transparency among its services.





Legal mentions © L’Atelier BNP Paribas