I’ve just seen what has to be the lamest excuse ever to come out of the Googleplex. Apparently Google hasn’t implemented a Do Not Track mechanism on its Chrome browser, because, according to one of the Internet Giant’s top privacy lawyers, Keith Enright, the geeks in Mountain View “need more granularity and a more reasonable understanding of what it means to honor [Do Not Track] in a meaningful way.”
It’s really very simple, Do Not Track means just what it says. When a consumer sends that message to a website, he or she means it. Don’t gather my information and follow me around the web and snoop on my browsing habits. That’s clear, isn’t it?
The other three major browsers have figured out that the ability to send a Do Not Track message is something that consumers want. Mozilla’s Firefox, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Apple’s Safari will all offer a feature that would enable the unambiguous Do Not Track message to be sent.
The problem, of course, is that there is no requirement that websites honor the requests. That’s where legislation comes in. In the the House, Rep. Jackie Speier has introduced a Do Not Track bill. In the Senate Sen. Jay Rockefeller has a Do Not Track bill. In California, Sen Alan Lowenthal has offered a bill that would cover companies doing business in the state.
The federal bills give the Federal Trade Commission ample authority to draw Do Not Track regulations so that they allow common business practices to continue. The California bill authorizes the attorney general to draw up these regulations.
There is absolutely no reason for Google to muddle the issue by claiming they don’t know what Do Not Track means. How could they not know? Tracking is what their entire business model is based upon. Snooping on our online activities and monetizing us, their users.