Markey, Blumenthal Introduce Legislation To Increase Protections For Online Consumers
Do Not Track Online Act would require companies to allow consumers to stop collection of personal information
Recent reports show consumers increasingly concerned about companies tracking online behavior, likely to try ad-blocking software to avoid possible tracking
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Ranking Member and Member, respectively, of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, today introduced the Do Not Track Online Act of 2015, legislation that would give consumers the ability to control their personal information and allow them to prevent online companies from collecting and using their information for profit. The bill follows the recent release of a report identifying that the majority of online consumers are concerned about companies that track online behavior and a growing number of internet users are opting for ad-blocker software to eliminate potential for being tracked.
“Consumers need this protection against invasive tracking – companies that collect private, sensitive information with every online click,” said Blumenthal. “The ‘Do Not Track Act’ prevents privacy abuse and gives back control over personal lives online. People deserve to be empowered to stop trackers who collect and store their personal, private information.”
“Every online click consumers make provides a detailed and private picture of their personal lives, and American should have control over the collection and use of this personal, sensitive information,” said Senator Markey. “The ‘Do Not Track Act’ gives Americans the right to say no to private companies tracking their every move online. I thank Senator Blumenthal for his work on this important bill and look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this important consumer protection legislation.”
“Individuals should be able to easily indicate to providers of online services if they don’t want their every click tracked, and their privacy choices should be respected,” said Susan Grant, Director of Consumer Protection and Privacy at the Consumer Federation of America. “There is a lot of talk about empowering consumers but little is done to actually provide them with the tools and rights they need to exercise real control of their data online. The Do Not Track Online Act of 2015 would result in reasonable standards and procedures that would truly put consumers in the driver’s seat when it comes to controlling their digital exhaust.”
The Do Not Track Online Act of 2015 would:
· Allow individuals to simply and easily indicate their preference to not have their online activities tracked or their personal information collected by online providers;
· Prohibit online providers from collecting personal information from individuals who indicate they do not want to be tracked, with limited exceptions;
· Allow the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general to pursue enforcement action, including the use of civil penalties, against any company that does not honor consumers’ requests to not be tracked;
· Require the FTC to review the Act’s implementation and effectiveness and report the results to Congress within two years of the Act’s approval.