"required" and "voluntary"

Jeff Barber jeffb at issl.atl.hp.com
Tue Aug 5 05:54:52 PDT 1997

While following Wombat's link, I found this amusing piece:

Don't you just hate it when you're "required" to adopt "voluntary"

-----------------------------cut /\ here------------------------------

Bill would call for greater Net privacy protection

WASHINGTON - Many people who surf the Internet don't know that personal
information on them can be collected at the sites they visit. 

But that could change under a bill to be offered Wednesday by a key
telecommunications lawmaker which aims to give computer users greater
privacy protections. 

The bill by Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., would bar companies from disclosing
or using without consent people's medical and financial records, as well
as government information such as social security numbers that are
available online, said spokesman Ken Johnson. 

As chairman of the House Commerce Committee's telecommunications
subcommittee, Tauzin has considerable power to advance legislation
through the chamber. A hearing is planned for this fall. 

The bill also would require companies to adopt voluntary guidelines to
protect computer users' privacy when personal and other information is
collected from them online for marketing purposes, Johnson said. 

Web site owners can use technology to track, for instance, hobbies and
buying habits of visitors. The owners can then sell the information to
advertisers and other interested parties without the consent or knowledge
of the computer user. 

The Federal Trade Commission is now looking into the issue. To
short-circuit any regulatory action, companies including Microsoft and
Netscape Communications, the biggest makers of Web browsers, have
proposed letting computer users specify what personal information they
are willing to share and with which Web sites. 

The bill also would require companies to adopt voluntary guidelines that
would help reduce junk e-mail, or "spamming" as it's called in cyberspace,
Johnson said. 


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