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House Dems push for online privacy bill

Aug. 12, 2008 at 10:11 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives say they're pushing for an "online privacy Bill of Rights" after revelations of growing browser tracking.

U.S. Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., leader of the House Privacy Caucus, says he's assembling the provisions for legislation that would require Web site operators such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to disclose whether and how they monitor the site browsing activities of individual users and then sell that information to advertisers, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

"Our responsibility is to make sure that we create a law that, regardless of the technology, includes a set of legal guarantees that consumers have with respect to their information," Markey told the Post.

In communications with the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Google said it doesn't engage in a troublesome technology known as deep-packet inspection. But it did tell lawmakers it had begun to use the "DoubleClick ad-serving cookie," a code that allows the tracking of Web surfing, the Post reported.

"Google is slowly embracing a full-blown behavioral targeting over its vast network of services and sites," Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, told the newspaper, saying Google "knows more about consumers than practically anyone."

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