February 02, 2001, 1:18 PM — A U.S. SENATOR has reintroduced a bill that seeks to protect the privacy of consumers from software that monitors their Web surfing habits.
John Edwards, D-N.C., on Tuesday refiled the legislation that would uncloak so-called spyware programs that use encrypted codes to monitor users' online activity and later share that usage information with advertisers, telemarketers, or other businesses, according to a statement. Edwards initially filed the Spyware Control and Privacy Protection Act bill in Oct. 2000, but Congress failed to take action on it.
Under the proposed legislation, companies that use codes to track the activities of Internet users would have to notify consumers in plain language when the users surf their sites and download information. No information on Internet surfing habits could be collected without first obtaining each consumer's permission, according to the proposal.
Businesses that gather data would have to let users know what information has been assembled, provide a way to correct errors, and safeguard the data against unauthorized access by hackers.