Rockefeller Reintroduces Do-Not-Track Bill
Tech association calls it case of Congress demonizing legitimate ad practices
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/1/2013 10:21:52 AM
Violators could be fined up to $15 million.
The so-called Do-Not-Track bill was first introduced in 2011, but has failed to gain traction, particularly with Republicans who tend to favor an opt-out, rather than opt-in, data collection regime.
It would require the Federal Trade Commission to create rules requiring opt-in consent, as well as "clear and conspicuous notice" about what data is being collected and how it is being used. The law would apply to nonprofits as well as for-profit businesses.
The law gives states the authority, parens patriae (acting on behalf of all the residences) to compel compliance with the law or file suit against a company it believes is violating that law.
The bill also sets a fine of up to $16,000 per violation per day of noncompliance up to a maximum of $15 million, with an inflation escalator clause.
Computer companies were not happy with the bill's return.
The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, whose board members include Apple, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard and Quaalcom, called it a "detrimental policy that undermines the economic foundation of the Internet and makes consumers worse off."
The FTC will soon be under new management, but under chairman Jon Leibowitz, who is exiting Friday, the commission has put an emphasis on self-regulation, though Leibowitz has also said he favors a do-not-track regime and has also said that legislation might be needed if self-regulation did not produce sufficient choice and control for consumers.
"The success of the Internet is rooted in the availability of access to free, ad-supported online content and services," said ITIF senior analyst Daniel Castro. "Given the importance of the Internet to the U.S. economy it is unfortunate to see legislation introduced that will discourage growth in this important sector. Instead of demonizing legitimate online advertising practices, Congress should focus on meaningful efforts to protect user privacy that do not undermine the economic system that has supported decades of innovation on the Internet."
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