The issue of digital tracking is getting a lot of attention in Congress. Senator Jay Rockefeller IV introduced the Do-Not-Track Online Act of 2011. It gives consumers the option of opting out so your online activities won’t be tracked by Internet companies.
An investigation I did for NewsChannel 5 in November, showed you how tracking cookies are left behind on your computer and the security and privacy issues with the cookies. Most consumers have no idea these cookies are put on your computer to track your habits. It’s how a website keeps tabs on you, and targets ads directed toward your interests.
The cookies raise privacy concerns about what a company knows about you. It’s spawned lots of independent mechanisms to stop tracking, and the browsers have responded as well. However, Congress wants even more choice for consumers.
“Recent reports of privacy invasions have made it imperative that we do more to put consumers in the driver’s seat when it comes to their personal information,” said Rockefeller. “I believe consumers have a right to decide whether their information can be collected and used online. This bill offers a simple, straightforward way for people to stop companies from tracking their movements online.”
This act would include tracking on mobile devices. The Federal Trade Commission and Attorneys General would enforce the law. The FTC will play a role in what mechanism is used to give consumers an opt out option.
Until we have a federal solution, consumers need to take action. You need to stay up to date on the changes your favorite browser is making. Browsing privately or incognito is a good place to start, but you should also add plug-ins and extensions to make your browsing experience even more secure. Don’t forget to update your browser when prompted. The latest versions are the ones loaded with the most security and tracking options.