updated 09:55 pm EDT, Mon May 9, 2011
Users would be able to opt out of tracking
The US Senate is currently considering a "do not track" bill (PDF) that proposes a number of regulations that may affect methods used to track user activity on the Internet. The bill, which was introduced by Senator John D. Rockefeller of West Virgina, would essentially block companies from logging website visitation details for users who choose to opt out of tracking programs.
"I believe consumers have a right to decide whether their information can be collected and used online," Rockefeller was quoted as saying, according to a Washington Post report. "This bill offers a simple, straightforward way for people to stop companies from tracking their movements online."
The bill would require the FTC to build a framework for the do-not-track system, which would require users to submit a request to opt out. Companies would still be able to obtain limited information required for a website to operate, however the data could not be tied to specific users for marketing purposes.
The FTC late last year issued a privacy report that recommended do-not-track features to be integrated into browsers and websites, though the Commission admitted that it did not have any legal authority to enforce such regulations. Several companies, including Google and Mozilla, quickly followed with new browser features that limit tracking abilities.