A new survey from Keynote Systems has looked at the tracking behavior of 269 leading websites in the news, finances, travel and retail sectors and discovered that 86% of the sites had some form of web history tracking cookie that delivered customer web habit data to third parties. 60% of the sites had at least one tracker tha “violated good industry practices.” And while the media and travel sectors were the worst offenders in tracking Netizen activity, a surprising three out of four financial services sites had one or more tracker that didn’t comply with good practice. Worst of all of the 211 cookies discovered by the survey, only one had support for “Do Not Track” protocols.
DNT is a hot topic at the moment, as technology companies struggle to comply with legal pressure to protect consumers and on the other hand the advertising and marketing industry presses for more access. Microsoft recently courted controversy by saying DNT will be turned on by default in Internet Explorer 10–a move which is, curiously, disapproved of by Net regulating body the Worldwide Web Consortium. W3C has itself been trying to come to conclusive decisions about DNT, but has failed to achieve any yet, so much so that the privacy-conscious EU has this week been pressuring W3C to permit Microsoft’s decision and to force Netizens to make a decision on their DNT settings in a browser pop-up window.
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