Proposed Privacy Bill Includes Greater Consumer Protections
Recently released draft legislation will make extensive changes to the way personal data is collected and used when consumers visit online sites or give information to retailers in “preferred shopper” or similar programs. The proposed bill would greatly expand what information should be considered confidential. It would require companies to post clear and understandable privacy notices when they collected information. Privacy notices are not currently a federal mandate although many states do require them. The information considered confidential includes health and financial data, which are protected today through a variety of laws. The proposed legislation also covers any unique identifier, including a customer identification number, a user’s race or sexual orientation, the user’s precise location or any preference profile the user has filled out. It could also include an Internet Protocol address, the numerical address assigned to each computer connecting to the Internet that many companies use now to identify users for specific, targeted messages.
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