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New Tool Stops Tracking

Publication Date: 
March 15, 2011
Politico Pro
Michelle Quinn

Lecturer Ryan Calo spoke with Politico Pro about the effect that a "Do-Not-Track" tool will have on consumer privacy. Michelle Quinn filed the following report:

Microsoft's release Tuesday of a new Internet Explorer browser that includes a Do-Not-Track tool lets consumers signal advertisers and websites to stop tracking their movements on the Internet.

But it doesn't quite take the pressure off of regulators and lawmakers in the nation's capital to spell out rules about Internet and privacy. In fact, now they may have to specify what a website or an advertiser does with a Do-Not-Track request.


IE's anti-tracking tool is "a conversation starter," said Ryan Calo, director of the Consumer Privacy Project with the Stanford Law School's Center for the Internet and Society. He is on Mozilla's privacy advisory board.

"It doesn't do anything in itself," he said. "But it's a powerful forcing mechanism. It forces the advertiser or tracker to respond and also puts the question to regulators: What are they going to about users stating their preferences?"