“Do Not Track” has become the buzz phrase of various political agendas in recent weeks. Much like the infamous “Internet Kill Switch” there is currently not one proposed “Do Not Track” Bill, but many political discussions regarding online privacy.
Privacy is a hot topic, and a big business. Based on what websites you visit, and what you do on those websites, a tracking file is created. These tracking files can contain data which allows marketing companies to create a pretty accurate demographic profile of the person using the computer. While they may not know exactly who you are, they may have a pretty good idea of your age, gender, marital status, physical location, home ownership, and even an accurate estimate of your income range.
Privacy groups think it is about time that web surfers have some rights in what data can be collected, and how that data can be used. The various proposed “Do Not Track” laws would regulate these issues.
Will 2011 be the year of Internet regulation?
If you are trying to get up to speed on the “Do Not Track” legislation, here is a list of some of the various proposed internet regulations introduced this year.
- February: California Congresswoman Jackie Speier introduces “The Do Not Track Me Online Act of 2011” to give consumers ways to prevent personal data from being tracked.
- March: Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary Larry Strickling, speaking at a Senate hearing pushes the Obama administration agenda asking for privacy legislation.
- April: Senators John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, and John McCain, Arizona Republican, introduce “The Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011” establishing a framework to protect the personal information of all Americans.
- May: “The Do-Not-Track Online Act of 2011” is introduced by Senator Jay Rockefeller, West Virginia Democrat, which includes specific provisions on internet marketing tactics not covered in the Kerry-McCain proposal.
- May: Representatives Edward J. Markey, Massachusetts Democrat, and Joe Barton, Texas Republican, draft the House bill “Do Not Track Kids Act of 2011” updating the The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, aimed specifically at internet marketing to minors.
Bipartisan support encouraging
While there are numerous ongoing discussions underway, there is reason for optimism, as many of the proposals are being jointly presented by members of both parties.
It would appear that some type of internet regulation for increased privacy and protection of internet consumers is a safe bet for passage sometime this year.