Do Not Track!
Mimicking the "do not call" laws passed to stop over-aggressive
soliciting by telemarketers, lawmakers on Friday indicated they plan to introduce
not track" privacy bills to enable people to block companies from following
their activity on the internet.
The "do not track" rule push, first
recommended by the Federal Trade Commission, reflects an increasing focus on
passing first-time privacy for all internet users.
In the House, Reps. Edward
Markey, D-Mass. and Joe Barton, R-Texas issued a draft House bill with bipartisan
support that would prohibit companies from tracking children on the internet
without parental consent and require an "eraser
button" that would allow parents to eliminate kids’ personal information
already online. Companies would have to get parental consent to collect location
information from children 12 and younger. Teens would have to expressly agree
to location collection.
It also specifies that the privacy rules would apply
to mobile phone apps, an area unregulated by the government.
"We have reached a troubling point in the state of business when
companies that conduct business online are so eager to make a buck, they resort
to targeting our children," Mr. Barton said in a statement issued on
strongly believe that information should not be collected on children and used
for commercial purposes."
Meanwhile, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. said
he would introduce a bill covering all internet users, making it illegal for
websites and marketers to track anyone who had opted out of data collection.
The measure would also require companies to destroy user information or make
it anonymous once it is no longer useful. The FTC would be in charge of enforcement.
He also plans to conduct a hearing about mobile privacy later this month.
"Consumers have a right to know when and how their personal and sensitive
information is being used online," said Mr. Rockefeller, in a statement.
such bills, web firms have argued that online tracking helps deliver targeted
advertising that pays for free web content and services. They also note that
that tools can be created to help users manage tracking. Microsoft and Mozilla
have come up with browser-based privacy controls without government mandates.
"I’ve asked for a waiver of Senate ethics rules so I can give Sen. Rockefeller
a gift he really needs — an iPad," Steve DelBianco, executive director
of NetChoice, a trade group that represents web firms including AOL, eBay and
Expedia, said to the Washington Post. "The senator can see for
himself how interest tracking lets advertisers pay for all those free apps
and web services that regular Americans love to use."
- Congress scrambling to draft ‘do not track’ laws – Washington Post/sfgate.com
- House Releases ‘Do Not Track’ Bill – The Wall Street Journal
- Senator Says He Will Introduce Do-not-track Bill – PC World
- Internet privacy: Lawmakers offer new proposals allowing consumers to stop
online tracking – The Los Angeles Times
Discussion Questions: Should Congress pass “do not track” legislation? If passed, what would it mean for mobile and internet marketing?