IDG News Service - A bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives Friday would create a do-not-track tool giving Internet users the power to prohibit online advertising networks and social media sites from tracking their Web behavior and sharing their personal information with other businesses.
The Do Not Track Me Online Act, introduced by Representative Jackie Speier, would direct the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to create standards for a nationwide do-not-track mechanism that would allow Web users to opt out of online tracking and the sharing of consumer data among online businesses.
Websites and ad networks that did not honor the opt-out requests would be subject to unfair or deceptive business practice complaints at the FTC, or enforcement actions by state attorneys general.
Speier, a California Democrat, also introduced a bill Friday that would allow consumers to prohibit their banks and other financial institutions from sharing personal information with third parties.
"These two bills send a clear message -- privacy over profit," Speier said at a press conference.
The do-not-track legislation is needed because there are no limits in the U.S. on how Web-based companies can track consumers online and whom they share the data with, Speier said.
Several consumer groups voiced support for the two bills, saying a universal do-not-track mechanism is needed to protect privacy. The do-not-track bill "will allow consumers to make a basic choice that they think they already had -- whether or not companies can track their activities online," said Carmen Balber, Washington, D.C., director for Consumer Watchdog.
Most consumers believe that when they agree to online privacy policies, their privacy will be protected, but instead, the policies simply detail how the website will use and share their information, Balber said.
Some privacy groups have called for websites to get opt-in permission before collecting personal data.
The FTC, in a December report on online privacy, endorsed do-not-track tools, but suggested that browser makers could implement the feature on their own. Mozilla, Microsoft and Google all announced do-not-track features for their browsers shortly after the FTC report.
But Speier said the do-not-track mechanism needs to be universal and easy to use. "It needs to be uniform, it needs to be simple and it needs to be up front," she said.
The browser do-not-track mechanisms all have problems that need to be addressed, added Michelle de Mooy, senior associate for national priorities at Consumer Action. "This bill gives consumers the ability to make that choice and puts it into law," she said. "She's responding to a very public outcry that says, 'we want a choice.'"
Private efforts to implement do-not-track tools have been ineffective, Speier added. "Often times, the emperor has no clothes," she said. There must be something enforceable, she said.
- CIOs Deliver Productivity Breakthroughs with Intelligent Digital Signage Retailers have long recognized the influence that digital signage provides over a shopper's point-of-purchase decision making process.
- 2014 Gartner Magic Quadrant Report For the 7th year in a row, Riverbed is in the "Leaders" Quadrant of the 2014 Magic Quadrant for WAN Optimization Controllers. In...
- Improving Business Value of WAN Optimization Want to achieve faster ROI with WAN optimization? Read the latest IDC report and discover how you can cut IT costs without compromising...
- IDC ROI Infographic Trends such as evolving communication patterns, connection types, applications and bandwidth can have an impact on enterprise organizations. Learn how IT organizations can...
- Transform Your IT Service Management Watch this webinar, to learn how EasyVista can increase IT productivity & efficiency and deliver streamlined & integrated IT Service & Asset Mgmt.
- Top 4 Digital Signage Fails Join RMG Networks for a look at four of the most common reasons digital signage fails in corporate businesses. Learn about strategies to... All Applications White Papers | Webcasts