'Do not track' law needed for consumers, says Sen. Rockefeller

Consumers need legislation to protect them from online tracking, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said Tuesday after an online ad group announced it was withdrawing from do not track talks at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

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Earlier this year, Rockefeller introduced a "do not track" bill that would allow consumers to opt-out of online tracking. “Legislation is the only way to give consumers more control over their personal information” when it comes to online tracking, he said Tuesday.

“When the online advertising industry has no incentive to provide consumers with strong privacy protections, this is the result,” he said in a statement, referring to the advertising representatives walking away from the talks.

Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said Tuesday that she is frustrated with an online advertising group’s decision to withdraw.

Though she is disappointed with the Digital Advertising Alliance’s decision, “my end goal on Do Not Track remains for consumers to have meaningful choices not to be tracked, whether that option emerges from within or outside the W3C,” Ramirez said in a statement.

“Consumers deserve a functioning Do Not Track system that is easy, effective and enforceable, persistent, universal and that affects collection, not just use, of data for marketing purposes,” she said. “Reaching that goal requires compromise on the part of all involved.”

The group representing advertisers should rejoin the talks “as they see progress and momentum,” W3C CEO Jeff Jaffe said in a statement.

“With a concrete plan and a full set of Chairs, the Working Group is set to proceed to Last Call with renewed momentum,” Jaffe said.