California is putting itself in position to lead the fight for increased online privacy by trying to pass the country’s first so-called do-not-track law to keep personal data from being grabbed off the Internet.
Legislation by state Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) would create a mechanism to allow users of smartphones, tablets, computers and any other device that accesses the Internet to tell website operators they don’t want their online habits monitored.
As California did with do-not-call efforts to block telemarketers, he said, the state should be out front in blocking online tracking. “We will lead and provide stimulus to the rest of the nation,” Lowenthal said. “It’s much more difficult to get something like this through Washington.”
Momentum is growing for do-not-track legislation, either as a stand-alone protection for consumers or part of more comprehensive privacy reform, privacy experts say. California’s bill signals that the final push might come from the states, not the federal government.