Plans were announced on Friday by lawmakers to bring about a ‘Do Not Track’ bill. This legislation will allow companies that gather information about an Internet user’s browsing activities—to be blocked. The online user will be able to block any company that they don’t want gathering information about them. “Do Not Track Online Act of 2011” will offer a “simple, straightforward way for people to stop companies from tracking their every move on the Internet. Consumers have a right to know when and how their personal and sensitive information is being used online, and most importantly to be able to say ‘no thanks’ when companies seek to gather that information without their approval,” said Senator Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat of West Virginia.
The recent incidents of information theft at Sony and others, have created controversy about companies collecting online activity history and information and tracking technology. Both Apple and Google will be in attendance and the hearing about internet privacy with Congress. Android an iPhone are accused of tracking their customer’s locations and information and keeps the data in their system. Both companies state they want to work with the policymakers on smartphone privacy. Google insists that they offer some privacy protection and that the user simply has to keep their Android in ‘opt-out’ mode. Users must opt-in to use the location sharing application. “Any location data that is sent back to Google location servers is anonymized and is not tied or traceable to a specific user,” Google said.
Senator Rockerfeller said this new bill will provide a legal obligation for companies to allow users to opt out of being tracked online. It will also give parents more power in what information the companies collect on their children’s activities and information as well. The bill will require consent from the parents if targeted ads and marketing is acceptable. Parents and children will also be able to “erase” their public personal information when possible. The Federal Trade Commission will be given power to go after any company not obliging users’ request to be blocked from tracking.