NEWS12 April 2011

Kerry–McCain privacy bill to be introduced in Senate

Government North America

US— Senators John Kerry (pictured) and John McCain are set to introduce their commercial privacy bill today, which sets out to address concerns over the use of consumer data by companies and advertisers, particularly in the online environment.

The bill was previously published in draft form here. The Hillicon Valley technology blog says of today’s announcement: “The Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011 will likely codify how companies must handle consumers’ data and give the Federal Trade Commission authority to enforce those requirements. Watch for a mandatory op-out procedure for online targeted advertising.”

Kerry set out his intention to craft privacy legislation last year during a hearing of the Senate commerce committee, which saw discussion of a proposed ‘do not track’ mechanism to allow people to completely opt out of online behavioural tracking.

Since then, the do-not track idea has advanced to the point where browser companies are introducing opt-out capabilities in the latest versions of their software, while the Do Not Track Me Online Act has been introduced in the House of Representatives.