February 2014 Online Tracking Workshop: Developing an International Consensus for Consumer Protection and Privacy Online


Feb 11-12, 2014, Brussels

In June 2011, The University of Amsterdam Institute for Information Law (IViR) and Berkeley Law convened policymakers, academics, and technical experts in Brussels to discuss the state of tracking online. The event was held on the eve of implementation of the e-Privacy Directive (with rules on cookies and similar technologies), and in the wake of a preliminary recommendation to create a Do Not Track system in the US. In the intervening years, several important developments have advanced the debate surrounding online tracking and advertising:

  • The implementation of the new European cookie-rules raised several questions. The Information Commissioner Office of the UK moved towards an opt-out interpretation, arguing that because of recent press coverage audience has been made sufficiently aware of behavioral targeting. The Dutch implementation of the e-Privacy Directive led to the wide-spread erection of cookie-walls and subsequently resulted in proposals for exceptions for certain analytics cookies
  • The Article 29 Data Protection Working Part issued a number of relevant Opinions, for instance on mobile apps, on cookies and tracking, on the purpose limitation principle and on consent
  • The European Commission presented a proposal for a Data Protection Regulation which causes much debate (i.e. requiring consent to be “explicit,” the position of pseudonymous data)
  • Privacy – with discussions which now also include security related aspects – has emerged as an election issue, both at the national level (particularly in states with a strong tradition of data protection) and in the context of the upcoming European Parliament elections
  • The US Federal Trade Commission, in March 2012, issued its final privacy report, promising to work with stakeholders to implement a persistent, easy to use, effective Do Not Track system
  • An effort to create a standard for implementation of a Do Not Track system at the W3C attempted to build a consensus, but failed to deliver results so far
  • Self regulatory organizations created cookie-based opt out schemes focused on the use rather than collection of information
  • Browser developers provided Do Not Track options to users, and considered policy changes for how cookies should be handled by default
  • Developers of browser addons created popular tools to block advertising, with the side effect of blocking tracking cookies and web beacons
  • The Wall Street Journal continued its influential “What They Know” series, making dramatic revelations of how extensively consumers are tracked online and off
  • Revelations concerning government surveillance and the reliance of such programs on private-sector information collection occupied the headlines

Given these and other developments, IViR and Berkeley Law will reconvene policymakers, technical experts, and academics to revisit the status of online tracking policy efforts, the state of the art in technology of tracking, and the broader implications of a highly tracked society. We will focus upon issues of convergence and areas where there appears to be an impasse between US and Continental approaches. As part of this effort, IViR and Berkeley Law will develop a discussion document highlighting key areas of divergence and convergence on approaches to online tracking.

Workshop Chairs:

Nico van Eijk, Professor of Media and Telecommunications Law and Director of the Institute for Information Law
Natali Helberger
, Professor of Information Law, Institute for Information Law
Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius
, Ph.D. Candidate, Institute for Information Law
Jennifer M. Urban
, Assistant Professor of Law, UC Berkeley School of Law
Chris Jay Hoofnagle
, Lecturer, UC Berkeley School of Law

Registration now open





Workshop Location



Microsoft EBC
Rue Montoyer 51
1000 Brussels


Tentative Schedule


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

11:45-1:15 Lunch and Registration

1:15-1:30 Opening Remarks

Nico van Eijk, Institute for Information Law

1:30-2:30 Opening keynote

Julie Brill, Commissioner, US Federal Trade Commission

2:30-3:00 Break

3:00-5:00 Panel I: Current affairs: state of law and policy today

Sjoera Nas, Internet and Telecom expert, Dutch Data Protection Authority
Rosa Barcelo, Policy Coordinator, Privacy, European Commission
Nick Doty, University of California, Berkeley
Christopher Kuner, Senior Of Counsel, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Kimon Zorbas, Vice President, IAB Europe
Moderator: Nico van Eijk, Professor of Media and Telecommunications Law and Director of the Institute for Information Law

5:00-5:15 Break

5:15-6:15 Technical Briefing on Tracking & Anti-Tracking and electronic self help

Jaap-Henk Hoepman, Radboud University Nijmegen and the Privacy & Identity Lab.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

8:30-9:30 Breakfast and Registration

9:30-10:30 Keynote

Françoise Le Bail, Director-General for DG Justice, European Commission

10:30-1:15 Panel II: Where is online tracking heading?

(This session will be divided in two parts, with a 30 minute break at 11:30)

Frederik Borgesius, PhD Candidate, Institute for Information Law
Jean Gonié, Director Privacy Policy EMEA, Microsoft
Stephan Noller, CEO Nugg.ad and Former Chair, IAB Europe Policy Committee 
Aleecia McDonald, Director of Privacy, Stanford Center for Internet & Society
David Marty, Privacy Counsel, Quantcast
Janneke Sloetjes,  Bits of Freedom / EDRI
Moderator: Frederik Borgesius & Nick Doty

1:15-2:30 Lunch

2:30-3:15 Keynote

Nuala O’Connor, CEO & President, Center for Democracy & Technology
Moderator: Cornelia Kutterer, Microsoft

3:15-5:15 Panel 3: Broader normative aspects of online tracking

(This session will be divided in two parts, with a 15 minute break at 4:00)

Gary T. Marx, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, M.I.T. 
Richard Rogers, Professor, University of Amsterdam
Joseph Turow, Robert Lewis Shayon Professor of Communication & Associate Dean, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania
Moderator: Natali Helberger, Professor of Information Law, Institute for Information Law

5:15 Concluding Remarks

Natali Helberger, Professor of Information Law, Institute for Information Law
Nick Doty, University of California, Berkeley

5:15 Reception