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'Do Not Track' Bill Gathers Steam Amid Web Privacy Concerns

By Robin Enos on June 03, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Do-Not-Track Online Act of 2011 may soon give web users an easier path to not being monitored by Internet and wireless companies. The bill comes amid increased attention by lawmakers on creating privacy rules for the Internet.

West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D) introduced the legislation prohibiting online tracking, both on the Internet and on mobile phones, reports Reuters. The White House has called for such rules but has not supported a specific mandate that would block companies from tracking users.

Rockefeller's proposal makes "do not track" work like the "do not call" system. Internet browsers will, under Rockefeller's proposal, provide a one-click button. A consumer who wishes not to be tracked online can simply click a button on their browser, reports the Sacramento Bee.

"I believe consumers have a right to decide whether their information can be collected and used online. This bill offers a simple, straightforward way for people to stop companies from tracking their movements online," said Rockefeller in a statement reported by Reuters.

The targets of enforcement would be Internet companies and advertising networks. The bill empowers the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to write regulations and enforce the prohibition against tracking, Rockefeller, Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Science, Commerce and Transportation, told Reuters.

Supporters of the bill include the non-profit Consumer Watchdog, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center for Digital Democracy, and the ACLU, reports the Bee.

Despite consumer enthusiasm for Rockefeller's idea, his bill is opposed by NetChoice, an e-commerce trade group, reports the Bee.

A competing bill to regulate online tracking has been introduced by Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John McCain (R-Arizona), but the competing bill does not have a 'do-not-track' prohibition, reports Reuters.

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