California lawmaker touts do-not-track bill

The new legislation would allow Web users to opt out of online tracking and data collection

A state senator in California has introduced a bill that would allow Web surfers to opt out of online tracking efforts by websites and advertising networks.

State Senator Alan Lowenthal, a Long Beach Democrat, and Consumer Watchdog, a privacy group that supports the bill, detailed the bill in a press conference Monday. Lowenthal originally introduced a placeholder bill in February, then amended the bill March 24 to include new do-not-track language.

"Nearly 80 percent of Californians use the Internet and nearly 45 percent use Facebook -- including myself," Lowenthal said in a statement. "But today millions of Californians are unaware that their online behavior is being tracked; their data collected and sold to advertisers."

Lowenthal's legislation, designated as a computer spyware bill, would direct the California attorney general to adopt regulations requiring Web companies that collect personal data to allow users to opt out of data collection and online tracking.

The regulations would also require Web companies doing business in California to inform users of their collection and tracking efforts, and it would allow civil lawsuits against companies that fail to comply with the regulations.

The bill would hurt the Internet, said Steve DelBianco, executive director of NetChoice, an e-commerce trade group.

"Consumer Watchdog is backing a California version of do-not-track that would impose $1,000 class-action lawsuits for every technical violation," he said. "The plaintiff's bar in California must be salivating over this. And the bill lets the attorney general create new rules without hearings or showing evidence of harm."

In February, U.S. Representative Jackie Speier, a California Democrat, introduced a similar bill in Congress that would direct the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to create standards for a nationwide do-not-track mechanism.

In December, the FTC recommended that the technology industry create a do-no-track tool for Web users. In the following months, Google, Mozilla and Microsoft all announced do-not-track features in their browsers. Those browsers offer simple ways for Web users to opt out of tracking efforts, said John Simpson, Consumer Watchdog's privacy director.

But websites are not required to honor the browsers' do-not-track instructions, Simpson said. The California bill "changes that and ensures consumers' choices will be honored," he added.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags privacyMicrosoftinternetGooglelegislationadvertisinge-commercemozillaNetChoiceU.S. Federal Trade CommissionConsumer WatchdogSteve DelBiancoJohn SimpsonJackie SpeierAlan Lowenthal

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?