Online “Do Not Track” bill introduced in Congress
California Democrat Jackie Speier has proposed a bill that would create an option for all Americans to choose not to be tracked online by advertisers. The Do Not Track Me Online Act, as it has been named, would create a registry similar to the US National Do Not Call Registry which allows consumers to opt out of receiving solicitation phone calls. If passed, the bill would create an opportunity for consumers to escape while also creating legal ramifications for business. Companies who do not respect a person’s opt out would be subject to legal consequences. Such a proposal is not new, advocacy groups and consumer watch dogs have called for such a plan for years, both via FCC regulations and congressional legislation. This is the first time however such an explicit list style approach has been introduced into Congress. With growing concerns over online privacy, the proposal is likely a welcome option to many Americans. Recent USA Today polls indicated that as much as 50 or even 70 percent of online users are worried about their privacy when surfing the web. An industry response to the problem has been to allow users of web browsers, such as Google’s chrome or Mozilla’s Firefox to opt out via the browser to end tracking. However many have been critical of the option, saying it does not go far enough. It remains unclear if the bill will pass.