The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Friday disclosed it is not ready to enforce the “Do Not Track” requirement on Google, Facebook, and others as being pressed by privacy advocacy groups and others across the country.
Imposing the rule on the social media giants and search engines would make it difficult for them to track the online activities of their users.
Privacy advocacy groups had been pressurizing the FCC to impose stronger internet privacy rules on internet companies for quite some time, but the FCC’s recent decision to not implement such requirement defeats the privacy advocates while gladdening companies that make money from internet users’ personal data.
The move to impose restriction of “Do Not Track” on large internet companies such as Google and Facebook among others is a calculated move from forces pushing for net neutrality, which actually calls for strong monitoring or regulation of big web sites and online services. But then, under the net neutrality rules, the FCC is empowered to monitor providers of internet access, and not individual sites such as Google or Facebook and others.
However, the activist group Consumer Watchdog asked the FCC in June to implement a rule that would see to the development of technology which would allow users to click on the “Do Not Track” notification in their browser if they do not want to be tracked, or to leave it if they desire tracking.
A few websites on their own implemented this technology but most of them do not, and a situation where all of them are mandated to honor the request would make the “Do Not Track” technology a US internet usage standard.
In a show of enlarging its functions to prevent privacy violations from communications and internet access companies, the FCC on Thursday fined Cox Communications with $595,000 for breach of consumer data. Meanwhile, the FCC has taken similar steps to rein in AT&T and other telecom companies that have engaged in consumer data breaches.
In the middle of this is the raging debate between privacy groups and online ad groups. Privacy groups contend that the “Do Not Track” should make it impossible for internet websites to collect personal data about an individual; but online ad groups want the “Do Not Track” rule to collect data but not serve targeted ads.