Nate Anderson reports:
Major Internet privacy legislation was unveiled today (PDF) by Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL). Under the bill, companies would be forbidden from using your cell phone’s geolocation information without your consent, and the same goes for information on your race, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation. For most other information, a simple opt-out will keep that data—even data already collected—from being used.
The bill isn’t particularly long, and compared to laws in other countries, it’s not particularly strict. But it does provide a decent privacy baseline in the US, providing limited protection for “covered information” and much tougher protection for “sensitive information.”
The bill makes a key distinction between the two kinds of data: covered information collection is “opt-out,” while sensitive information collection would become “opt-in” only.
Read more on Ars Technica.
I anticipate a lot of commentary on this bill, so look for a post tomorrow with links to analyses and reactions.