San Francisco, CA, April 2, 2012 – The recent agreement between the White House and several tech companies promising voluntary support for a ‘Do Not Track’ framework for web browsing is a great start; but recent comments by GOP Representative Mary Bono (R-CA) questioning whether ‘Do Not Track’ is necessary underscore the very real need for the industry to take greater leadership on protecting user privacy.
Representative Mary Bono (R-CA) calls for a cautious approach by the federal government concerning enforcement of online privacy. “Before we do any possible harm to the Internet, we need to understand what harm is actually being done to consumers,” says Congresswoman Bono.
At its most cynical, this sounds like the 2012 version of an argument we’ve heard for years: ‘Don’t crush the green shoots of Internet commerce.”
“Representative Bono raises a legitimate point concerning government action about the Internet: that historically, innovations – for the benefit of consumers and businesses – have originated among companies themselves,” says Jeff Chen, CEO of Maxthon. “But, on the question of privacy we have to be doing more, not less. And we should be leading the way, not reacting to pressure from the White House, Congress or the Department of Commerce. The e-commerce and Internet advertising marketplace has matured considerably and the old argument of ‘don’t crush the green shoots’ is no longer valid. How the tech industry responds to the question of user privacy will, we believe, determine how governments regulate us in the future. ”
With the e-commerce and online advertising revenues now totaling multiple billions of dollars, it is no longer premature for software developers and technology companies to make Do Not Track the first step in a broader campaign to protect the privacy interests of users throughout the globe. Representative Bono correctly identifies a gap between surveyed attitudes about Internet privacy and actual legislative advocacy. But the absence of public outcry about this issue doesn’t mean it’s not important.
“The e-commerce and Internet advertising marketplace has matured considerably and the ‘don’t crush the green shoots with premature regulation’ argument is no longer valid. How the tech industry responds to the question of user privacy will, we believe, determine how governments regulate us in the future.” says Karl Mattson, GM of Maxthon International/Chief of Product Development. “There needs to be strong leadership – from technology companies – so users have an easy and effective means of protecting themselves,” says Karl Mattson, GM of Maxthon International/Chief of Product Development.
“In two words it comes down to this: tools and teaching. The technology industry should be taking a much more active lead in creating tools that allow users to protect their privacy – at whatever level the individual chooses; and dedicating resources to educating users about their options regarding privacy and the tools available to protect it.”
Headquartered in Beijing, Maxthon Ltd. is an innovative software company and developer of superior web browsers which continue to set new standards for simplicity, speed and security. Each month more than 130,000,000 people use Maxthon’s web browser in 120 countries across the world. Maxthon also brings its best-of-breed browsing to the Android platform for mobile devices and tablet computers. For more information about Maxthon please visit www.maxthon.com.
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