Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Privacy bill would set rules for online marketing
_ Web sites that collect information about visitors — or use an outside company to do that — in order to target advertising on their own pages would be required to prominently disclose what information they gather. The Web sites would have to describe in detail how that information is used, how long it is retained and whether it is shared with third parties. The sites would be required to allow visitors to "opt out" of data collection altogether.
_ Web sites that share user information with outside advertising networks, which place ads on sites all over the Internet, would be required to obtain user approval before collecting data. That is, consumers would have to "opt in." But these sites could qualify for an opt-out requirement by meeting certain conditions. For instance, a site could let users review, modify and delete profiles created about them. Or it could ensure that ads contain links to inform users what information is being collected and provide a chance to opt out of targeted pitches.
_ Web sites that deal with sensitive personal information, such as medical and financial data, sexual orientation, Social Security numbers and other ID numbers, would be subject to the opt-in rule. So would sites that share consumer information with unaffiliated third parties for commercial purposes.