California Working on Internet Privacy Law

Scales of JusticeCalifornia law makers are slowly pushing forward legislation that would offer Web surfers a little more privacy by blocking companies from tracking online activities without permission. Should the bill become law, California would become the first state to impose a “do not track” requirement on Web sites, according to Computerworld.

The bill would give consumers an easy way to opt out of online data collection that is commonly used for Web-based advertising. John Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project, said the bill “puts up a no trespassing sign on our device.” 

SB-761 has made it out of California’s Senate Judiciary Committee and is now in the hands of the Appropriations Committee. Assuming the bill doesn’t die there, it still has to move through the Senate and State Assembly, and then on to the Governor.

While consumers may like the idea of blocking companies from tracking their online activities for marketing purposes, some companies are openly against California’s bill. Google, the CTIA wireless industry organization and the Direct Marketing Association have all come out against the proposed legislation.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, well known for its efforts to protect online rights for consumers, isn’t overly excited about the bill, either. The organization supports the idea of a “do not track” law, but doesn’t think California is currently on the right track with its bill.

“We’re not incredibly fond of the language in the current bill, which is why we think it needs amendments,” said EFF senior staff attorney Lee Tien.