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McCain Introduces Web Data Privacy Bill

Senator John McCain, R, AZ, chairman, Senate Commerce Committee, introduced legislation earlier this week that that would require online merchants to disclose the kind of personal information they collect from customers as well as making them post a “conspicuous notice” of the ways they intend to use that information.

The bill, which is called the Consumer Privacy Enhancement Act, was co-sponsored by Sens. Spence Abraham, R, MI, John Kerry, D, MA, and Barbara Boxer, D, CA.

“Too many privacy policies confuse and contradict rather than provide a conspicuous notice of a consumer's rights,” said McCain, in a statement. “The more we do to protect consumers' privacy rights, the more we facilitate the burgeoning growth of the Internet.”

The legislation would not prevent sites from using information collected for marketing purposes, but would require site hosts to disclose what steps visitors can take to limit its use, the report said.

Reportedly, the bill allows consumers to sue Web sites that violate site agreements for up to $22,000. The bill also calls for the National Academy of Sciences to create a study that would determine if similar protections are needed for offline businesses.

The Senate Commerce Committee, which McCain chairs, will conduct hearings regarding the bill, and is slated to pass it along to the Senate floor for a vote in September.

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