Senators propose Web privacy legislation
- By IDG News Service, Margret Johnston
- Jul 28, 2000
Responding to a ground swell of public concern about privacy on the Internet,
a bipartisan group of U.S. senators Wednesday proposed a bill that would
require Web sites to post clear and concise information about their privacy
Under the provisions of the bill, World Wide Web sites would have to divulge
how they plan to use consumers' personal data collected from Internet surfers.
The bill would require companies to describe exactly who is collecting the
information, how the information will be used, the types of information
collected and whether personal information is required to use the site.
The Web sites would also have to take steps to secure the personal information
once it's in their databases.
Senators Spence Abraham (R-Mich.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and John Kerry
(D-Mass.) held a news conference Wednesday to announce the introduction
of the bill.
Surfing the Web shouldn't require you to share your life story with the
world, Abraham said in a statement. The bill was designed to make sure Internet
users know exactly how a company will use personal information. That way,
consumers can make a clear decision whether to do business via that Web
site, he added.
The bill will also require Web sites to provide consumers with a clear opportunity
to limit the use and disclosure of personal information for marketing purposes.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, according to the statement, would enforce
penalties set in the legislation. Anyone who violates the privacy provisions
would face a civil penalty of $22,000 per violation up to a maximum amount
The new provisions would allow the FTC to move more swiftly to a civil lawsuit.
an order against the company, but there is no penalty unless the Web site
violates the original FTC order. If that occurs, the FTC can pursue a civil