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Privacy Advertising Government The Internet

'Do Not Track' Bill Aims To Let Consumers Reject Online Tracking (consumerist.com) 75

kheldan writes: A newly introduced piece of federal legislation aims to give consumers more choices about when their browsing behavior is being tracked. Today, Sens. Richard Blumenthal (CT) and Ed Markey (MA) are introducing the Do Not Track Online Act of 2015 (PDF), which would direct the Federal Trade Commission to create new regulations "regarding the collection and use of personal information obtained by tracking the online activity of an individual."
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'Do Not Track' Bill Aims To Let Consumers Reject Online Tracking

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @03:58PM (#51124849)

    how are they going to enforce "do not track" if they can't even enforce do not call?

    • Well it worked with the CAN SPAM Act of 2003 didn't it?!?
    • by Sowelu ( 713889 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @04:24PM (#51125085)

      Actually, Do Not Call is a pretty stellar success...things are a lot better now than they were before, and very large penalties are handed out on a regular basis. It's almost guaranteed that every solicitor who ignores Do Not Call is a scammer; it stops legit companies (which were the majority of this stuff) dead in their tracks.

      • by XXongo ( 3986865 )
        I think I get about one call a DAY. How do YOU get the do not call to work???
        • I think I get about one call a DAY. How do YOU get the do not call to work???

          (1) Try to get as much information as possible from the caller: name of company, type of business, reply phone number, etc. True scammers are likely to waffle, so try to feign interest long enough to get what you can.
          (2) Then ... tell the caller that you are on the FCC do-not-call list. If the caller says something oblique, like "oh, I need to mark you not-to-call in my records" then tell them it's the FCC's records (not their own) that they should be checking before they call.
          (3) Report the violation [donotcall.gov] to th

          • For the system to work, it's not enough to be put on the list. People need to complain when a caller violates the law.

            And, most importantly, the caller needs to be a legitimate business located in the US. I don't know about the GGP, but of the multiple calls I get every day, most are Canadian Pharmacy, Microsoft Support, and other criminals operating in other countries and using VoIP bridges to call the US. It's telephone spam, and the Do Not Call list is powerless to stop it.

            • Report them anyway, even if they're outside the USA. They may be calling from outside the USA, but some are agents for US businesses.

              I don't know whether the law can go after the providers of VoIP access-points in the USA, but with enough complaints to the FCC, maybe the law will be amended so that it does.

              Also, these other countries surely have a reciprocal problem. Maybe the ultimate solution to junk calls will be treaties that enable prosecution across borders.

        • Did you put the correct number into the database? Do you update it every few years as the numbers expire?

          You should not be getting any calls.

          Remember: Political, donation, and not-for-profit calls are NOT blocked by the list. Those are still fair game.

          • Do you update it every few years as the numbers expire?

            Once a number is in the do-not-call list, the registration never expires [ftc.gov] unless the number becomes disconnected and assigned to someone else, or you ask for it to be removed.

        • by swb ( 14022 )

          I hired a couple of ex-Mossad freelancers and suddenly that company quit calling anyone.

        • Don't have a phone?
          Seriously, this isn't 2005, there is no need for a land-line in 2015.
        • One call a day is it working pretty well. It used to happen a lot more frequently, and the cost is lower. But companies now also try pretty hard to get you to do some business with them, which grants them the rights to call you. Enter a sweepstakes? Call for a free trinket. Two years of calls. Which at least is a sweepstakes entry.

      • Yeah, I agree. I haven't had a spam since it went into effect. The calls instantly stopped.

        You have to renew it every few years, maybe people don't realize this?

    • how are they going to enforce "do not track" if they can't even enforce do not call?

      That's the question I was asking when I saw this story and decided to post it. So far as I know, some of the worst of the bad actors out there actually will use the 'Do Not Call' list as their calling list for their robodialers; others just roll the dice and hope there aren't enough complaints to get them busted, or find some way to obfuscate themselves enough to avoid calls getting traced back to them. Also, I'm not sure how a 'Do Not Track' law is going to be enforcable on a website that is hosted and ope

    • Maybe they can just add federal penalties for ignoring the existing do-not-track settings of browsers.

  • The failed policy's we have had here in CT are just the evidence you need as to why to run from any bull proposed by this knucklehead.
  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @04:11PM (#51124955)
    Each Do Not Track cookie will have a serial number that cannot be used for tracking purposes. /sarcasm
  • So this is, what, theater? I mean, that's kind of my go to for all the "Does not actually deliver jack shit of claimed intent", it's for pacification or PR or image management or whatever. Assuming there isn't a more unpleasant motive.
    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Should be pretty fucking obvious, this is the first push for anti-Windows anal probe 10 technology. Blocking browsers data mining without blocking operating system data mining will be impossible. So basically the first legal shot across M$'s extraordinarily hugely offensive privacy invasive bow, more sure to follow.

  • Ohhh, that's adorable. Politicians think their opinion matters to corporations.

    • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

      ..and politicians still think that people believe they care about their rights.

    • Ohhh, that's adorable. Politicians think their opinion^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hlaws matters^H to corporations.

      I tidied that up a hair. Add in "Now they have a new restriction to overcome without breaking a sweat, and actually, encouragement to be a little less detectable," and I think you're awesome-golden. :)

  • Ask the engineers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mstefanro ( 1965558 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @04:15PM (#51124989)

    Why not write these bills in collaboration with software engineers, who have a clue?

    We don't want more ridiculous things like the mandatory "by visiting this site you agree with our website using cookies" messages.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Actually I think the cookie warning was worth a try. The hope was that it would encourage companies to either avoid cookies or at least be up front about what they do with them. It half worked.

      It was actually an opportunity for companies, but they wasted it. Now AdBlock and some privacy blocking software are almost mandatory, and harsher legislation is likely to appear.

  • Yet another "law" that is completely unenforceable and unworkable being paraded in front of us for one reason only, the get gullible people who don't understand the tech in play to vote for someone.
    • Yet another "law" that is completely unenforceable and unworkable being paraded in front of us for one reason only, the get gullible people who don't understand the tech in play to vote for someone.

      The only rule is you have to make sure there are a set of at least two major business investigations and/or seizures that have taken place after your law goes into effect. That's a lot of work and lost gov't revenue, but hey.. after a few, it can just fall by the proverbial wayside and it was still a success. The world is a better place now, and [I] am an awesome politician for MAKING that happen. Go Team America!

      *gag*

  • Give the law teeth or it does nothing.

    One of the problems they have with the health care privacy law is that there is no legal punishment. That is, if you get caught giving or selling away healthcare information, you don't do jail time. Usually they get off with a warning - even if it was your ex-employer who gave a private detective health care information and tried to hire them to look for incriminating evidence.

    At best, the people get sued - which is often an expensive proposition.

    Put in a real fi

  • Even if you could pass a law like this and get people in the US or Canada to agree with it, exactly how are you suppose to stop companies that are located in other countries. This isn't really going to work.

  • PHB: ...so I, a small online marketing firm, am not allowed to TELL anyone that I'm harvesting this data anymore? I have to say that I'm following the law and not? Ah, shucks. Well, that's fine. I'll just sell a "unique" data set product with "cutting-edge" sources. No big deal. Hey, Jen, tell the guys to start working on that.

    Jen: Already did. They said it'll be done in a few hours.

    PHB: Better idea than I originally thought!

    *faceplant*

  • by Anonymous Coward

    You think websites will give a damn?
    We have a law against unwanted newsletter in Canada. Hasn't stopped ANYTHING other than from Canadian companies... and even there, some still send them because their TOS says you are agreeing to it just by using their service.

  • to this and what the loop holes are.

  • Can I get a "do not steal my credit card number" bill, and a "pretty please don't assume my identity" bill, while they're at it?

    Damn...our politicians are just so forward-thinking. If only they would have have had the foresight to pass a "do not blow up skyscrapers" bill before 9/11. Just think how different the world would be today!!

    • You seem to want to say that we just can't know what evil doors are tracking us. But I would gladly support a bill that simply says when I visit your website don't connect to Facebook and a dozen other "social media" sites at the same time, particularly is there is no indication that I'm a member of Facebook or any of the other social media sites. Not only does this invade my privacy but it wastes my bandwidth, drives up my data usage and slows my connection. And personally I'll never join any of these sit
  • But we'll still be able to buy homeopathic bullshit, and pay for it with an InstantCash loan, right?
  • People are already empowered to prevent websites from remembering what they told those websites: don't talk to that website. We have neglected to use that power, and instead, we've chosen to use shitty web browsers for the last 20 years, where those web browsers' policy seems to be "meh, load whatever anyone suggests." I suppose some people would say since our browsers suck and most of us aren't programmers who can make their own browser, we're not really empowered, but I think we simply rejected the power.

  • Can we get "do not track" bill that applies to NSA/CIA/etc. first, please?

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