Hawley proposes bill to create internet 'Do Not Track' list

Dan Weinbaum
May 21, 2019 - 6:24 am

Sen. Josh Hawley wants to give Americans a tool to easily block internet companies from collecting unrequested data from customers.

Companies like Google and Facebook are known to collect information from users beyond what is necessary for a particular service. That data is then packaged and sold. 

The Missouri senator, who was sworn in five months ago, has paid considerable attention to the issue of data collection. He has sponsored a bill that would give internet users the ability to join a "Do Not Track" list with a single click of a mouse.

Hawley addressed the issue in a March Senate hearing with Google officials. He said the problem worried him as a father of two young children.

"Your company, and others like it, are sweeping up information to build a user profile on them that will track every step, every movement, and monetize that, and they can't do anything about it, and I can't do anything about it," Hawley said. "That's a big problem that this Congress needs to address."

Hawley's bill would cover all activity on the internet. Compliance would be mandatory.

"It's kind of like that old Eagles song, you know, You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave," Hawley said of internet data-gathering practices. 

Hawley recently proposed legislation banning so-called loot boxes, which video game players purchase to gain game advantages or virtual items. Critics say loot boxes expose children to gambling.

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