Searls isn't the first to declare that Do Not Track regulations may be unnecessary. In March, Federal Trade Commission chairman Jon Leibowitz praised the "extraordinary strides" in the Digital Advertising Alliance's pursuit of an organic browser-based system that prevents online tracking. Responding to an FTC report that asked how businesses should use the increasingly detailed information that users leave online, Leibowitz gave what he called the FTC's "prevailing answer."
"Consumers should have that choice, and consumers should have that control," the FTC chairman said, according to PC World.
Indeed, the Do Not Track Online Act of 2011 has yet to make any progress since Sen. Jay Rockefeller introduced it over a year ago. GovTrack estimates that the bill now has a 3% chance of passing the Senate.
Searls praised the efforts of several companies currently developing consumer data-conscious services, such as Privowny, Personal.com and The Customer's Voice. Privowny, for example, encrypts its users' data so that not even the company itself can recognize it. While this approach has its risks -- the company's website warns that if the user forgets the password then they may lose some information for good -- Searls says it is the most private method of storing data. If even police request that information from Privowny, the encryption prevents the company from being able to produce it.
Searls makes the clear distinction that the intention-based economy does not mean less power or money to the business side. On the contrary, this approach rids the Internet economy of irrelevant advertisements, and puts buyers and sellers in a mutually beneficial relationship.
"We're going at it again from the same angle, and not enough on the buyer side, which the Internet has just as much implication for helping," Searls says. "And I think it's just because it's too easy to set up yet another site with yet another exclusive service. And it's fine, and those will be good, but to me they're not interesting enough. So I've just sort of picked out this one quarter of the world that I think can be one half of the world, which is what the buyer has to say."