Track" is a technological standard being implemented in
all major web browsers that allows users to tell web sites,
advertising networks, and other online service providers not to
track their web surfing activities. "Do Not Track"
accomplishes this by sending out a small packet of information to
participating websites to inform the site that the user does not
wish to be tracked.
It probably comes as a surprise to most Internet users (and to
most readers of this blog) that a single website, or an
advertisement or social media plug-in appearing on that site, can
track all of a user's online activities for days,
months, or years afterwards. The very fact that most Internet users
have no idea that companies are able and willing to track all of
their online activities should inform how software companies,
including browser developers, set the default privacy settings in
Mozilla's decision not to switch "Do Not Track" on
by default might be defensible if the Firefox browser asks the user
to make a choice on "Do Not Track" the first time it is
run, as its does with regards to making itself the default
But this is not how Mozilla has decided to implement "Do
Not Track" in Firefox. Instead, users must go to the
"Preferences" option in the "Firefox" menu,
navigate to the "Privacy" tab, and then select the
"Tell websites I do not want to be tracked" option. How
many Firefox users will know to do this, given that most Firefox
users (like most Internet users) have no idea they are being
tracked in the first place?
To be sure, there is not enough time in the day for a web
browser to seek the affirmative consent of the end user to every
little thing that happens to a user online. This is why Firefox,
like every other browser, ships with a wide variety of default
settings, from search engine (Google) to cookie acceptance (yes) to
blocking suspected phishing sites (yes). And although Mozilla tries
to draw a distinction between privacy technologies that do or
don't "broadcast" information about a user's
privacy settings, this is a distinction without a difference,
because Firefox currently broadcasts all kinds of user preferences
to web servers (including browser version, operating system, and
screen resolution) by default.
The bottom line is that by leaving "Do Not Track"
switched off by default on the theory that Firefox users have not
affirmatively opted into it, Mozilla is subjecting its users to an
online tracking system that the vast majority of them don't
even know exists. This is not a default that promotes choice, but
one that makes a sub-optimal choice for users who don't know
they have one.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology has released the fourth revision of its standard-setting computer security guide, Special Publication 800-53 titled Security and Privacy Controls for Federal Information Systems and Organizations, and this marks a very important release in the world of data privacy controls and standards.
The obligations of hedge funds, investment managers and service providers to protect confidential information relating to investors and avoid breaches of data privacy legislation is increasingly in focus.
In a recently released decision from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Mais v. Gulf Coast Collection Bureau, et al., Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr., granted in part and denied in part cross motions for summary judgment in a putative class action before considering the issue of class certification.
The report also found that most utilities only comply with mandatory cybersecurity standards, and have not implemented voluntary NERC recommendations regarding general or specific threats (e.g., Stuxnet).