News & Resources

Do Not Track Bill Reintroduced in Senate

March 14, 2013
William MacDonald
Internet and Privacy Law

In response to alleged industry inaction, Senator Jay Rockefeller (who plans to retire at the end of next year) recently reintroduced a bill, the "Do-Not-Track Online Act of 2013", that would require all Web browsers, online companies, and app makers to give users a choice of opting-out of being tracked online. The bill would require the Federal Trade Commission to establish standardized mechanisms for people to use their Internet browsers to tell Web sites, advertising networks, data brokers and other online entities whether or not they were willing to submit to data-mining. The bill would also require the FTC to develop rules to prohibit online services from amassing personal details about users who had opted out of such tracking. Rockefeller previously introduced a similar bill in 2011, but didn't pursue it after industry groups said they would voluntarily develop ways for users to opt-out. According to Rockefeller, however, industry has been unable to come to an agreement with consumer advocates about how to create such a mechanism. Rockefeller told the New York Times that "Industry made a public pledge to develop do-not-track standards that will truly protect consumer privacy - and it had failed to live up to that commitment. They have dragged their feet long enough." According to David Vladeck, a former director of the bureau of consumer protection at the FTC (and now a professor at Georgetown Law), "This is a signal that Senator Rockefeller is serious about getting Do Not Track done."