Targeted ads have gotten aggressive to the point where some online users have complained about the amount of data ad agencies and other companies collect from browsers. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) recently drafted a “Do Not Track” Act to combat data tracking and allow users to opt out of having their data tracked by online services.
“Big tech companies collect incredible amounts of deeply personal, private data from people without giving them the option to meaningfully consent,” Hawley said to the Verge. “They have gotten incredibly rich by employing creepy surveillance tactics on their users, but too often the extent of this data extraction is only known after a tech company irresponsibly handles the data and leaks it all over the internet.”
The act would fine tech companies $1,000 a day per person for knowingly collecting users’ information despite them opting out of having their data shared. Companies that unknowingly tracked user data would pay fines of $50 a day per person.
U.S. lawmakers have been eyeing big tech companies’ practices on data collection from other tools like biometrics and artificial intelligence for some time now. Florida’s state legislature introduced two new bills in March that target biometric collection. On a national level, Sen. Cory Booker introduced the Algorithmic Accountability Act of 2019 to require companies collecting and sharing data for the purpose of algorithms to conduct impact assessments on their privacy and AI tools.
Hawley’s bill has a long journey to make before it is passed into law, but his move highlights a trend from consumers and lawmakers to hold big tech companies more accountable for their data blunders.