Do Not Track Me Online Bill Introduced

The Do Not Track Me Online Act was introduced in the House of Representatives February 11, 2011 by Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA). It prohibits the unauthorized tracking of a consumer’s online behavior. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will regulate, monitor and enforce the bill should it become a law. Noncompliance could result in unfair or deceptive business practices (civil action) by the FTC. And you can bet if you don’t comply that your competitors will be alerting the FTC.

In December 2010, the FTC outlined expectations which included more transparency between companies and how they track consumer information, and the ability for consumers to opt-out. Being proactive, Google, Bing and Microsoft all created opt-out browser add ons.

The message sent by Congresswoman Speier, sponsor of the bill, was “privacy over profit.” (Sorry, I had to pause for a little laugh. I was imagining politicians during campaigns using their voter databases, behavior and location analysis, and other stats to help win an election. Good thing politics is non-profit).

It’s a bill with good intent and the message is: consumers need more awareness and control over how their information is being used online, while companies need to be more forthcoming about their policies and offer consumers a means to opt-out.

Who is Excluded From the Bill?

  • Companies/individuals that store information for fewer than 15,000 individuals.
  • Companies/individuals that collect information on fewer than 10,000 individuals in a 12-month period.
  • Companies/individuals whose primary business is not to “study, monitor, or analyze the behavior of individuals,”

Even if this doesn’t include you, it’s a good idea to provide an easy to understand privacy policy. While this proposed act may not affect your site directly, chances are resources you rely on will be impacted.

Information Covered in the Bill

  • Web sites and content accessed.
  • Date/hour of online access.
  • Geolocation of the computer from which the information was accessed.
  • Browser, device or application by which the information was collected.
  • IP address, or customer number.
  • Name, address, email and or username.
  • Telephone or fax number.
  • Government-issued IDs (tax id, passport, driver’s license, etc.).
  • Debit card numbers and account numbers.
  • Sensitive information (health, medical, financial, etc..).

Comments About the Bill?

Tell us what you think of this proposed law. Is it a long-time coming, or does it unfairly target online marketing?

References:

“U.S. Internet Users Ready to Limit Online Tracking for Ads.” Gallup.Com – Daily News, Polls, Public Opinion on Government, Politics, Economics, Management. USA Today/Gallup, 21 Dec. 2011. Web. 12 Feb. 2011. http: //www.gallup.com/poll/145337/internet-users-ready-limit-online-tracking-ads.aspx

Speier, Congresswoman Jackie. “Do Not Track Me Online Act.” Do Not Track Me Online Act. Congresswoman Jackie Speier, 9 Feb. 2011. Web. 11 Feb. 2011. http: //speier.house.gov/uploads/Do%20Not%20Track%20Me%20Online%20Act.pdf

Comments

  1. John Marshall says

    Great post! I am actually getting ready to do more ezine marketing and coming across this information is very helpful my friend. Also great blog here with all of the valuable information you have. Keep up the good work you are doing here.

  2. JDM Labs says

    I’m all for full-disclosure, but it’s not the information we collect that’s under debate–it’s how that information is used.

    Nobody minds that Amazon is really good at showing relevant products for purchase based on my browsing and purchase history. They DO mind if you start receiving unrelated junk mail because they subscribed to someone’s newsletter.

    The issue is relevancy–not privacy.

  3. Peter Becci The Spammer says

    Thanks for this interesting post. I will be sure to get the word out about this site :) Excellent post. Can’t wait to see the next article.

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