tech stifling we can believe in

I hate to say I told you so, techhie and dynamist Obamaniacs, but: I told you so.

President Obama plans to appoint current Federal Trade Commission member Jon Leibowitz to lead the agency, which partially enforces antitrust laws and has taken a recent interest in online advertising.
. . .
“Industry needs to do a better job of meaningful, rigorous self-regulation, or it will certainly invite legislation by Congress and a more regulatory approach by our commission,” he said earlier this month.

In November 2007, Leibowitz suggested that Internet companies should take an “opt in” approach to cookies instead of the current “opt out” approach, a requirement that would have roiled the industry. He also suggested the idea of a “Do Not Track” list for Web surfers.

In contrast to spam, which is a hellspawn phenomenon that should die a thousand bloody deaths, cookies are what enable perfectly legitimate organizations to see if you’ve ever been on their site before, and then customize content accordingly. It’s what enables web analysts (like yours truly) to track visitor behavior and improve site traffic, and what enables Amazon to recommend products to you. Leibowitz essentially wants me to fill out thirty registration forms before I can allow a site to track my browser. (I steadfastly refuse to fill out the one that the WaPo asks me to.) Now that’s the way to help improve online innovation!

Also, buried deep in almost all articles, was this note:

Leibowitz previously worked as a lobbyist for the Motion Picture Association of America. Before that, he was chief counsel and staff director for a Senate antitrust subcommittee.

A former lobbyist, and for an industry organization that had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the digital age? That’s the change I was believing in!


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