Federal Do Not Track bill introduced in House

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US Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) introduced the Do Not Track Me Online Act of 2011 on February 11. It is the first bill of this Congress to explicitly call for Do Not Track regulation.

Marketers and industry groups have voiced opposition to prospective federal Do Not Track legislation, which would block unauthorized monitoring of consumers' online behavior, in recent months.

The bill would direct the Federal Trade Commission to develop standards for a Do Not Track mechanism allowing consumers to opt out of online data collection, as well as the use or sale of their online activities. The bill would also require companies to respect the consumer's choice, with failure to do so deemed an unfair or deceptive act punishable by law. Companies would also have to disclose their collection and sharing practices. The FTC would exempt common practices, such as the collection of information for billing purposes, from the law.

Speier also introduced the Financial Information Privacy Act of 2011, which would give consumers additional controls on the sharing of their financial information online.

“These two bills send a clear message – privacy over profit,” said Speier, in a statement. “Consumers have a right to determine what if any of their information is shared with big corporations, and the federal government must have the authority and tools to enforce reasonable protections.”  

A December Gallup poll that found two-thirds of consumers would back Do Not Track regulation.

Marketers, including Monster.com, have implemented consumer privacy initiatives in recent months, after the FTC called for the implementation of universal Do Not Track regulation in December.

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