Apparently seeking to mimic the success of the “do not call” registry, on May 9, 2011, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) introduced an online “do not track” privacy bill that would give consumers the ability to block companies from tracking their online activities. The proposed Do-Not-Track Online Act of 2011 comes on the heels of another consumer privacy bill proposed by Senators Kerry and McCain. The competing Kerry bill does not have a “do not track” feature, excludes the possibility of a private right of action (Sec. 406) and was generally panned by privacy activists as potentially being too pro-business. On the other hand, an ACLU spokesman described the Rockefeller bill as “a crucial civil liberties protection for the twenty-first century.”
Given the support being offered by the White House, the Rockefeller bill has a real chance of being passed into law. What it will eventually mean to the cost of “free” applications sponsored by marketers and their clients remains to be seen.