FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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WASHINGTON – A landmark bill was introduced today that will allow Americans to better protect their online privacy. The bill, the Do-Not-Track Online Act of 2011, was introduced by Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller (D-WV) and would empower the Federal Trade Commission to create a “do not track” list for online users. A “do not track” list would allow consumers to opt out of having their online activity collected by private companies without their permission.
The American Civil Liberties Union supports the creation of a “do not track” list as it would establish a barrier against unwarranted surveillance and targeting of Americans. The practice of tracking and collecting consumers’ online habits and then aggregating that information with existing offline data allows for the creation of detailed profiles on every American. These profiles could then be shared with employers and the government. This type of surveillance infrastructure is a major invasion of privacy and may lead to the chilling of free speech and expression rights if consumers feel they should not visit certain websites where their habits may be tracked.
The following can be attributed to Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:
“Today’s bill will be a key step forward toward bringing Americans’ privacy rights up to date. While we spend more and more of our lives online, our ability to control the collection, sharing and use of the information we share is severely lacking. A ‘do not track’ list will give Americans the chance to both opt out of opportunistic marketing tactics and keep their personal information out of the hands of the government.
“The Senate should make this important bill a priority to ensure that Americans have the control they deserve over their online information.”