In a spot of bad news for privacy advocates, the FCC explained today that it will not force websites to accept "Do Not Track" requests, which are used to ask websites to not follow visitors around the web through advertising networks and analytics services.
FCC won't regulate "edge providers"
In June, advocacy group Consumer Watchdog petitioned the FCC, asking the agency to force companies to honor the requests, which currently act through an opt-in basis. The group reasoned that, since the agency recently decided to similarly regulate privacy practices for internet providers under its new net neutrality rules, websites should be included.
But the FCC shot down that logic in a dismissal posted online today, saying it doesn't plan on regulating "edge providers," or services like Facebook, Google, or Netflix. "The Commission has been unequivocal in declaring that it has no intent to regulate edge providers," the dismissal reads.
That means Do Not Track will operate with websites in the same way it has in the past: by working with volunteer sites that choose to respond when detecting that a web browser has Do Not Track enabled. That includes at least some major sites, like Twitter, but without FCC backing, the concept won't be getting quite the traction that proponents may have wanted.