Legislators Introduce Online Privacy Bill

Lora Bentley

On Monday, consumer privacy advocates were lobbying on Capitol Hill for legislation that would better protect consumers from targeted advertising and other privacy-averse practices. On Tuesday, Reps. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., and Rick Boucher, D-Va.), released early drafts of an online privacy bill that would do much of what the privacy groups are asking.

 

According to the Los Angeles Times, the bill would "regulate how websites collect information about visitors and use that information....[It] would also give consumers the right to opt out" of targeted advertising. The legislation, the first attempt Congress has made to address Web advertising in 10 years, would require websites to obtain express consent from users before collecting information about them and to explain how that information is used.

 

Though organizations like the Center for Democracy and Technology praise the effort as the first step toward providing consumers with the means to protect their privacy, businesses that rely on the $23 billion Web advertising market to survive are understandably concerned and were slated to "air their objections in a conference call," the LA Times reports.

 

The legislation follows a year of consideration by the Federal Trade Commission reguarding how to address online advertising privacy, and just as sites like Facebook and Google have come under heavy fire for their seeming lack of privacy protections.



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