Kerry Gets Microsoft, Intel to Back His Online Privacy Bill

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., has been working on his online privacy bill for months. Now, as he appears to be getting closer to formally introducing it, he’s lined up support from some of the country’s biggest tech companies.

Companies that are ready to support the bill, which will be co-sponsored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., include eBay, Intel, Microsoft and HP.

The legislation “is heading in a positive direction,” a spokeswoman for Microsoft told Adweek. “We’re looking forward to seeing the final bill and then commenting more.”

Google and Facebook, both which have had to endure their share of privacy controversy, have also been involved in the ongoing draft talks but have yet to make a commitment to the bill.

“Facebook believes that protecting users’ privacy is important, and that is why we are constantly innovating to give people greater control over their information. That is also why we think it is important to engage in discussions with policymakers around privacy and related topics,” the company said in a statement.

It may be tougher for Kerry to convince the interactive ad community, which has been aggressively rolling out a self-regulatory program that allows Web users to opt out of behaviorally targeted ads.

“We’re not convinced yet that there’s a need for legislation in this area given all the progress we’ve made on the self-regulatory front,” said Mike Zaneis, general counsel for the Interactive Advertising Bureau.  

Kerry’s bill—now in its 11th draft—will be titled the Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011. It requires companies to give consumers notice about the collection and use of personally identifiable information and offer them a mechanism to opt out. The Federal Trade Commission would enforce the bill and will be asked to create “safe harbor programs.”

Publish date: April 1, 2011 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT