The PrivacyChoice Tracker List has been expanded and enhanced. My goal is to make it the definitive source of privacy information about the tracking company ecosystem, serving web users, websites, advertisers, agencies and others concerned with online tracking and privacy.
Here’s what’s new:
Expanded coverage. Over the last few months, we have added well over a hundred new companies to the index. As part of this effort, I have brought on new team members to continuously research and monitor new and existing listings. We’re also actively identifying new domains and testing processes through website spidering and a greatly expanded and more functional panel of real users.
Company classifications. For each listed company, we now classify them into one or more tracking-business categories, such as “Data trader” or “Ad network or exchange”. Unlike other taxonomies of this kind, we created ours from a consumer viewpoint, defining each activity in terms of the extent of data collection and sharing typical for each activity. Read more about our classifications.
Industry affiliations and oversight. In addition to noting status with the Network Advertising Initiative, we’re also including membership with groups such as the Interactive Advertising Bureau, when they have substantive requirements. Although (surprisingly) few companies have expressly indicated adherence with the Digital Advertising Alliance program so far, this will also be included in affiliations that we monitor.
Do-Not-Track Observance. Based on my own conversations, we will soon see many companies observing the Do Not Track header as implemented in Firefox 4. Tracker List entries now include DNT observance (when expressly stated in the company’s policy). We will also be providing external verification where possible, and indicate this in the listing.
Verified Opt Outs. Using our panel, we’re now testing opt-out processes “in the wild” to determine when they provide an externally verifiable opt-out from data collection (as opposed to merely an opt-out from receiving targeted advertising). This distinction has been a lightning rod for calls to regulate online tracking, and I’m expecting more companies to adopt tracking versus targeting opt-outs. We’re looking forward to working with them on methods to verify this for web users. Stay tuned for more details on how this works.
API. We have built out our API program, making Tracker List data available to power privacy experiences on other sites and applications.
Contact us for more information about how to use our API.