"Do Not Track" Legislation is Harmful to the Internet Economy

February 28, 2013

WASHINGTON (February 28, 2013) - The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) responded to the reintroduction of "Do Not Track" legislation by U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller, calling it detrimental policy that undermines the economic foundation of the Internet and makes consumers worse off.

The bill, which was originally introduced in 2011, would prohibit companies from collecting personal information about Internet users if a consumer opted out, except for data collected to ensure a website's basic functionality.

"The success of the Internet is rooted in the availability of access to free, ad-supported online content and services. Given the importance of the Internet to the U.S. economy it is unfortunate to see legislation introduced that will discourage growth in this important sector," says Daniel Castro, a senior analyst with ITIF. "Instead of demonizing legitimate online advertising practices, Congress should focus on meaningful efforts to protect user privacy that do not undermine the economic system that has supported decades of innovation on the Internet."

Targeted advertising uses information about Internet users to deliver to them more relevant ads based on their browsing history or other data, allowing advertisers to deliver more relevant advertising to consumers. In exchange for viewing online ads, users get access to a wide range of free content (e.g., news, music, movies, and games), free services (e.g., email, storage, and personal productivity tools), and free mobile apps.


The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank at the cutting edge of designing innovation strategies and technology policies to create economic opportunities and improve quality of life in the United States and around the world. Founded in 2006, ITIF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, non-partisan organization that documents the beneficial role technology plays in our lives and provides fact-based analysis and pragmatic ideas for improving technology-driven productivity, boosting competitiveness, and meeting today's global challenges through innovation. For additional information, visit ITIF at www.itif.org or contact Steve Norton at (202) 626-5758 or [email protected].