According to an article on Reuters today:
The White House wants a "Do Not Track" option put on websites to give consumers greater control of their personal information online but Internet companies and privacy groups are at odds on how tight the controls should be.
For anyone who has followed the long history of privacy features in Internet browsers, this impasse comes as no surprise. From automated cookie controls, pop-up blockers, and privacy-enhancing standards like P3P, At various points in recent history, controversy has swirled between advertisers, privacy advocates, and the developers of browsers. Since cookies are such an integral part of online advertising today, it's natural that the huge ecosystem built on cookies -- and the massive revenues growing therefrom -- will be disturbed by any increased barriers to ad targeting.
Advocates have said that since consumers rarely adjust their browser configurations, the default should be for more privacy-protective settings. Marketers naturally argue for the opposite, saying most consumers don't care enough to adjust their settings and making that decision for them may cause them to miss opportunities for useful and well-targeted ads.
Browser developers like Microsoft, Google, Apple, and the Mozilla Foundation have tried various approaches, generating much grief from whatever quarter feels betrayed by those choices. Setting aside the non-profit Mozilla Foundation, the rest of that browser development community has much to gain from encouraging consumers to trust their browsers, but they also have huge financial stakes in online advertising and will no doubt have these battle rage internally as well.
Ultimately, however, the amount of focus being placed by lawmakers and regulators on pushing a Do Not Track standard will keep the sides at the negotiating table. What the solution will look like, however, is anyone's guess.