Senator says he will introduce do-not-track bill

The legislation would require online businesses to honor do-not-track requests from consumers

A senior member of the U.S. Senate plans to introduce legislation that would require websites and online advertising networks to stop tracking Web users who ask to be left alone.

Senator John "Jay" Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, said Friday he will introduce an online do-not-track bill soon.

"Consumers have a right to know when and how their personal and sensitive information is being used online -- and most importantly to be able to say ‘no thanks’ when companies seek to gather that information without their approval,” said Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, in a statement. “This bill will offer a simple, straightforward way for people to stop companies from tracking their every move on the Internet.”

The Do-Not-Track Online Act would create an obligation for online companies to honor consumer requests to opt out of tracking. The bill would allow the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to take enforcement action against companies that do not honor the do-not-track requests.

After an Internet user opts out of online tracking, Web-based companies could collect only the information needed for the website or online service to function. Online companies would be required to destroy or anonymize personal information after it's no longer needed under the legislation.

Representative Jackie Speier, a California Democrat, introduced a do-not-track bill in the U.S. House of Representatives in February.

NetChoice, a trade group representing e-commerce groups, opposes the Speier bill, saying it would hurt Web businesses. Online tracking helps deliver targeted advertising that pays for free Web content and services, said NetChoice executive director Steve DelBianco..

DelBianco said he has not seen a draft of the Rockefeller legislation, but he wants to buy Rockefeller "a gift he really needs -- an iPad, so 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."

Separately on Friday, Representatives Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, and Joe Barton, a Texas Republican, released a discussion draft of a bill that would require online companies to obtain parental consent before collecting children's and teen's personal information.

The bill would also allow parents and children to demand that children's personal information held by Web-based companies be deleted.

“For millions of kids today, the Internet is their new 21st century playground -- they learn, play, and connect with others every day,” Markey said in a statement. “The Internet presents a wide array of opportunities to communicate and access entertainment that were unimaginable only a few years ago. But kids growing up in this online environment also need protection from the dangers that can lurk in cyberspace."

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags advertisingSteve DelBiancoU.S. Federal Trade Commissione-commerceNetChoiceU.S. Senate CommercelegislationinternetprivacyEdward MarkeyScience and Transportation CommitteeJackie SpeierSenator JohnsecurityJoe Bartongovernment

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?