New online ad privacy bill gives nod to self-regulation

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Washington, D.C.—The House of Representatives today will consider a new privacy bill that would prevent companies from disclosing customers’ personal information to third parties without an opt-in consent.

The bill, submitted by Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., would exempt from the explicit opt-in requirement those companies that comply with a “universal opt-out” program operated by industry groups, offering Internet users a way to opt out of all behavioral targeting.

Rush’s bill is similar to a proposal in May by Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va. Both would bar the sharing of “personally identifiable” information such as names and addresses, as well as marketing profiles associated with particular computers. However, the Boucher proposal does not include allowance for industry self-regulation.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau has offered cautious praise for the Rush bill, citing its deference to the industry’s efforts at self-regulating the use of Internet users’ information.

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