Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) this week introduced the "Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011," which they claim will establish a "baseline code of conduct" for how personal information is used, stored and distributed online.
"Americans have a right to decide how their information is collected, used, and distributed and businesses deserve the certainty that comes with clear guidelines," said Sen. Kerry in a statement about the new bill. "Our bill makes fair information practices the rules of the road, gives Americans the assurance that their personal information is secure, and allows our information driven economy to continue to thrive in today's global market."
The bill gives consumers notice of data collection and opt-out capabilities, while requiring companies collecting the information to provide adequate security and set limits on distribution.
Under the proposed legislation, State Attorneys General and the Federal Trade Commission would be empowered to enforce the bill's provisions.
A number of consumer privacy advocacy groups say that the bill does not go far enough, because it lacks a "universal opt-out" for tracking.
"Consumers need strong baseline safeguards to protect them from the sophisticated data profiling and targeting practices that are now rampant online and with mobile devices. We cannot support the bill at this time," reads a letter sent to the Senators from Consumer Watchdog, the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Action Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and Privacy Times.