If a user asks not to be tracked, companies would be allowed to collect only the information that is necessary for their online service to function. The bill would require the companies to destroy or anonymize the personal data when it is no longer needed.
Rockefeller first introduced Do Not Track legislation in 2011. At a White House event in early 2012, a coalition of Internet companies said they would work together to voluntarily implement a Do Not Track option for users.
Talks between advertisers, browser makers and other Internet companies have stalled, and more than a year after the announcement, there is still no functional way for users to block online tracking.
"Industry stood at the White House and made a public pledge to honor do-not-track requests, but has since failed to live up to that commitment," Rockefeller said. "My bill gives consumers the opportunity to simply say ‘no thank you’ to anyone and everyone collecting their online information. Period.”
Advertisers argue that tracking users' online activities allows them to deliver more useful and valuable ads. They claim that tracking is necessary to support many popular free online services.