Friday, December 30, 2011

The Do Not Track Act of 2011 Has Global Implications

While US senate bill S.913 AKA Do-Not-Track Online Act of 2011 may only apply to US companies and citizens, the effects of the bill would apply to anyone in the world who accesses certain US based sites. Despite much stronger online privacy standards in part of Europe than the US has, EU laws do not apply to US web sites with no European presence.

The Do-Not-Track Online Act of 2011 specifies that personal information will not be collected unless a person consents to it and that the legislation applies to mobile application and service providers. With the explosion of smartphones, this is a particularly important aspect for US citizens. If passed the impact on the Android platform would be evolutionary. The entire spyware culture of Google’s Android market would be changed. For US citizens and all others in the world the requirement that an individual “receives clear, conspicuous, and accurate notice on the collection and use of such information” and that they “affirmatively consents to such collection and use” Is significant. Fundamentally this is “opt in” and would be exactly what the Direct Marketing Association (http://www.the-dma.org/cgi/dispannouncements?article=1550) would be rallying for if they actually supported human decency.

The businesses that are against the legislation are willing to spend a lot more money lobbying against the bill than what they believe the cost of compliance would be, so it will be a tough fight. The only way this bill has a chance of seeing the light of day is if Americans come out en mass and tell their representatives to support the bill and if citizens in the rest of the world pressure their governments to express strong support for the bill.

This piece of legislation has implications far beyond territorial boundaries of the United States of America

The text of the Do Not Track Act of 2011 can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:s913:

Randy Abrams
Independent Security Analyst

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