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Do Not Track list: How would it work?

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(Read caption) The Apex Building, FTC headquarters is seen here. Federal regulators are proposing to create a "Do Not Track" list for the Internet so that people could prevent marketers from tracking their Web browsing habits.

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When the Federal Trade Commission proposed a computer "Do not track" list this week, the group compared it to the popular "Do not call" list that governs sales calls. Americans should be able to fend off marketers, the commission said, whether they're calling during dinner time or tracking your online purchases and Web history.

But a "Do not track" list will be significantly more complicated to put in place, argued many in Washington yesterday. And imposing such a privacy mechanism may stunt the growth and quality of free content online.

“We need to be mindful not to enact legislation that would hurt a recovering economy,” Rep. Ed Whitfield, a Republican from Kentucky, told the New York Times. He sits on the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, which discussed the FTC's idea Thursday. “While I agree it is important to have consumers understand what information is being collected and how it is used, we need to seriously discuss the do-not-track model and evaluate whether it accomplishes the appropriate objectives."

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