The US Federal Trade Commission has gone before Congress to promote its plans for a 'do not track' system in the US, which would give users greater control over what information is collected about them while browsing the web.
FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz told a Congressional committee that 'do not track' controls are essential for protecting consumer privacy in the coming years.
"While more work remains to be done on 'do not track', the Commission believes that the developments to date are significant and provide an effective path forward," Leibowitz said.
The testimony comes in the wake of the FTC's "Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change" report which provided guidance for firms over the handling of customer information and marketing practices.
Since its release, the report has come under fire from security and user advocacy firms who do not believe the recommendations do enough to curtail aggressive tracking techniques used by online marketers.
The Electronic Privacy Information Council (EPIC) criticised the report for failing to mandate protections and instead relying on firms to regulate their own activity.
Other firms have blasted the plan for what it sees as technical limitations in its strategy.
Rob Fleischman, chief technology officer with DNS management firm Xerocole noted that the report fails to address multiple devices and cross-platform use.
"The simplest reason why privacy policies should be enforced in ISP networks is that users generally have more than one device in their household and, frequently, each device can have more than one browser," Fleishman said.
"Using cookies or other browser-centric methods, at best, has to be applied to every browser, and at worst, doesn't work for non-browser web-enabled applications."
User privacy has become a hot-button issue in Washington DC. In addition to the 'do not track debate, Congress has recently been embroiled in a battle over the rights of businesses to demand employee login credentials for social networking platforms.
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