'Do Not Track' Internet Privacy Bill Introduced In House

Lecturer Ryan Calo spoke with David Sarno of the Los Angeles Times about the recent bill sponsored by Rep Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) to force online marketers to comply with consumer requests to not be tracked. Here is the story:

A privacy bill introduced in Congress on Friday raised the possibility that Internet users will be able to prevent advertisers from tracking what they do online.

Similar to the 2003 Do Not Call Registry that prevents telemarketers from calling consumers who don't want to be contacted, the "Do Not Track" bill would allow the Federal Trade Commission to force online advertisers to respect the wishes of users who do not want to be tracked for marketing purposes.

"Failure to do so would be considered an unfair or deceptive act punishable by law," said a statement from the office of Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough), who is sponsoring the bill.


"It really is a strong pro-consumer bill," said Ryan Calo, director of the Consumer Privacy Project at Stanford Law School, who noted that the bill's teeth included provisions that would allow state prosecutors to go after privacy violators if the FTC didn't have time or resources.

Still, Calo noted that the bill was not a panacea for preserving online privacy.