Proposed bill would help internet users

Do-Not-Track legislation is needed

News Democrat

Today's technology has made it easier for grandparents in Canton to connect with their grandchildren in Chillicothe. Items from a store in Orrville can be purchased in Sharonville and shipped to Circleville.

But improved technology also brings challenges along with opportunities.

The Internet and some popular communication devices have made it easier for companies to track consumers and criminals to pursue children.

Facebook, Google, and other popular websites collect computer users' personal information. Applications on so-called smartphones - like the Blackberry and iPhone - can also track a caller's location using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology.

GPS is available to any private user, including marketing and research firms.

While marketing companies can use one's location to create targeted advertisements, stalkers and abusers can use this information for more sinister reasons.

In fact, a 2009 Department of Justice report found that about one out of every nine domestic violence survivors was stalked or harassed using GPS technology, which is present in many smartphones. Recent reports from the Wall Street Journal to PC World have outlined how GPS is "a stalker's best friend."

Consumers, children, and survivors of stalking and domestic abuse have a right to privacy.

Leslie from Cincinnati wrote a brief, yet precise letter: "Please sponsor legislation to prevent companies from tracking me when I am online."

Ohioans like Leslie should have the right to decide if they want to share their private information. And Ohioans should be able to keep their children safe from online predators.

Earlier this month, I met with representatives from the Ohio Domestic Violence Network in Cleveland to address a solution to this problem.

That's why I am supporting legislation that would protect all users of the Internet and smartphones.

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Proposed bill would help internet users »