Two-thirds of consumers believe the government should play a larger role in protecting their privacy on the Internet, according to a new poll from Consumers Union. Over 80 percent want the ability to opt out of Internet tracking from a single location. “Very few people would agree that every piece of information they transmit should be available to everyone, for any conceivable purpose,” said Ioana Rusu, regulatory counsel for Consumers Union.
The poll comes as the Senate Commerce Committee gears up for a hearing on online privacy and data security. The hearing, to be held Wednesday, will focus on three bills, the Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights of 2011, the Do-Not-Track Online Act, and the Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2011.
"The idea of online privacy encompasses much more than the ‘creepy’ feeling consumers get when ads for an item they’ve looked at follows them around the web," said Rusu. She points out that the Do-Not-Track Online Act "would lend the force of law to industry’s self-regulatory efforts by requiring that when a consumer using a [do not track] tool expresses a preference to not be tracked online, companies must respect that choice."
The number of recent security breaches makes the need for strong data security rules included in the Data Security and Breach Notification Act clearer than ever, says Rusu.
Consumers Union is the non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports.