FTC to Crack Down on Cross-Browser Tracking ftc.gov

Director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Jessica Rich:

As I told the NAI, the disclosures and choices companies offer to people must address the many forms of tracking companies are using, including proprietary techniques that combine technologies like cookies, fingerprinting, cookie syncing, and many others. They also must apply when companies track consumers not on one, but across multiple devices. People can’t be led to believe tracking is more limited than it is, or that they’ve blocked all tracking when that’s not the case. And if the choices offered to people don’t cover all the ways a company tracks them, the company must clearly and prominently say so. I also told the NAI that these choices must be easy to understand and use, and shouldn’t require multiple steps.

I think the FTC would be shocked to find out how much information can be — and is — collected during casual browsing of the web, for which there is little way to reliably opt out. Targeted, behavioural advertising ought to be something consumers must opt-in to, not out of.