Bloomberg News has an oddly worded report this morning that says Google “will allow a ‘do-not-track’ button to be embedded in its Web browser…”
The report doesn’t say Google will actually respect that setting. (The proposed Do Not Track standard is a form of self-regulation that requires users to opt in, after which websites may—but do not have to—stop tracking them on the web.)
The world’s most popular search engine will join with other Web companies to support the anti-tracking initiative, which prevents an individual’s browsing history from being used to tailor ads, according to an e-mailed statement today.
“We’re pleased to join a broad industry agreement to respect the ‘do-not-track’ header in a consistent and meaningful way that offers users choice and clearly explained browser controls,” Google Senior Vice President of Advertising Susan Wojcicki said in the statement.
That part about agreeing to “respect the ‘do-not-track’ header in a consistent and meaningful way” leaves an awful lot of wiggle room.
It’s worth noting that Google, unlike some of its rivals, does not have an executive in charge of privacy issues. The statement sent via email today came from Google’s Senior Vice President of Advertising.
That says a lot in and of itself, don’t you think?
I have contacted a Google spokesperson and requested a copy of the email in question. I’ll update this post when I receive it.
Update: A Google spokesperson responded with a copy of the emailed statement, which consists of the single quoted statement. The spokesperson also included a link to a post by Wojcicki on the Google Public Policy Blog. It too does not include any details on how Google plans to implement Do Not Track.