Two former Presidential candidates have teamed up to champion legislation promoting consumer privacy on the Internet.
Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) introduced the Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act 2011 on April 12 and revealed its provisions during a news conference in Washington, DC. The bill is designed to protect online users by forcing companies to explain how they gather consumer information and what they do with it, according to The Washington Post.
If approved by lawmakers, the bill would require online companies such as Facebook and Google to receive user consent before acquiring personal information, including names, email addresses and credit card numbers. McCain and Kerry said that they have taken into account some of the feedback they garnered from lobbyists from Microsoft and Yahoo, who have warned that government intrusion could stifle business growth.
"Consumers want to shop, browse and share information in an environment that is respectful of their personal information," said McCain, quoted by the media outlet. "Our legislation sets forth a framework for companies to create such an environment and allows businesses to continue to market and advertise to all consumers, including potential customers."
Some consumer groups have expressed their displeasure with the bill, saying that it should include a "do not track" mechanism, which is similar to the "do not call" option that blocks telemarketers from calling residents.
Furthermore, TelecomTV.com reports that the legislation contains a loophole for data collectors, which says that information can be retained "for a reasonable amount of time" if it used for "research and development" purposes.