Sen. Hawley Will Introduce 'Do Not Collect' Bill

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) is introducing a bill, the Do Not Track Act, to give web users one-touch control of their data. 

The bill would create a Do Not Collect version of the Do Not Call list and users could trigger that option by a click in the browser settings or downloading an app. 

Hawley said edge providers have had plenty of time to implement a voluntary regime. "For years, industry groups promoted a program called 'Do Not Track' to give users control, and the FTC endorsed the program in 2010," he said. "But the program was voluntary, and tech giants that built their businesses around exploiting data refused to voluntarily comply. This bill would give Do Not Track legal force and expand it to cover all internet activity, not just browser-based activity." 

According to Hawley's office, the bill:  

  1. "Creates a program similar to the national Do Not Call list that gives every person the power, at a touch of a button, to block online companies from collecting any data beyond what is indispensable to the companies’ online services. 
  2. "Prohibits companies from profiling Americans who activate Do Not Track. 
  3. "Bans discriminating against people who activate Do Not Track.
  4. "Bans companies from transferring data to other companies when a user activates Do Not Track unless the first company is an intended intermediary. 
  5. "Forces Internet companies to disclose to users their rights under this Act. 
  6. "Imposes strict penalties for violating these provisions."  

Hawley, a freshman senator, has made shaking up, if not yet breaking up, Big Tech his signature issue. 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.