Rockefeller introduces bill to protect online consumers - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Rockefeller introduces bill to protect online consumers

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It's the information age, but some people feel too much of the personal information is floating around on the Internet without their consent.

To help protect these and other consumers, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., has introduced a bill that would give consumers the ability to control their personal information and allow them to prevent online companies from collecting and using that information for profit.

"Online companies are collecting massive amounts of information, often with out consumers' knowledge or consent," Rockefeller said in a March 1 statement. "West Virginians should be empowered to make their own decisions about whether their information can be tracked and used online. My bill gives consumers the opportunity to simply say ‘no thank you' to anyone and everyone collecting their online information. Period."

Rockefeller is chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. That committee has looked at the increasing collection and sale of consumer data and its implications for consumers. Rockefeller introduced a similar bill, the Do-Not-Track Online Act, in 2011 to give consumers the ability to opt out of having their online activities tracked by Internet companies.

The rehashed 2013 version would create a universal legal obligation for all online companies to honor consumer choice when they do not want anyone to collect information about online activities; allow the Federal Trade Commission to pursue enforcement action against any company that does not honor this request; if consumers ask not to be tracked, the bill would allow companies to collect only the information that is necessary for the website or online service to function and be effective, but then would place a legal obligation on the online company to destroy on anonymize the information once it is no longer needed.