Online Privacy Bill Treats Types of Data Differently

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A bill proposed last week in the Senate would require companies to obtain opt-in consent from consumers for sensitive data and provide opt-out options for other data, according to reports.

The bill, the Online Personal Privacy Act of 2002, was introduced by Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, D-SC. He chairs the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which plans a hearing on online privacy April 25.

Sensitive information that would require opt-in consent under the bill includes financial data, medical records, Social Security numbers, religious affiliation and sexual orientation. Non-sensitive information would include transactional data from online purchases.

If the bill were passed, consumers could sue companies if sensitive data were misused.

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