Consumer groups say proposed privacy bill is flawed

A long-awaited draft of a Congressional bill would extend privacy protections both on the internet and offline, but privacy advocates said the bill does not go far enough in protecting consumers, reports the New York Times. The draft legislation was released May 4 by Reps. Rick Boucher, D-Va., and Cliff Stearns, R-Fla. The two lawmakers will collect comments on the draft and hope to have formal legislation introduced within a month or so. Consumer groups have been fighting what they see as the prevalence of online tracking, where online advertising is targeted for a certain user. Right now, there is no national legislation governing how companies tell consumers that they are collecting data, but companies do post privacy notices because certain state laws require it. The proposed bill would expand what information should be considered confidential, and it would require companies to post clear and understandable privacy notices when they collect information. In a conference call with reporters, however, representatives from privacy and consumer groups said the draft included several loopholes that might let companies track consumers too closely…

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