Fighting the Tricks Tech Companies Use to Get Your Data
Why the Checkbox Was Already Clicked: Fighting the Tricks Tech Companies Use to Get Your Data
Two U.S. senators introduced a bipartisan bill that would ban “manipulative” design features and prompts that let large websites such as Alphabet’s Google or Facebook “trick consumers into handing over their personal data.”
Democratic Senator Mark Warner and Republican Senator Deb Fischer introduced the bill on so-called “dark patterns” on Tuesday, according to a news release from Warner’s office. Such features, based on behavioral psychology, include pre-checked boxes or pop-ups in the middle of an activity—such as an e-commerce purchase or reading a story online—that prompt users to consent to the collection of personal data.
The bill, which would only apply to websites with more than 100 million monthly active users, comes as anger with large internet platforms has led to rising calls for regulation. Although the bill introduced Tuesday is bipartisan, key committees that would have to legislate on the issue have not yet picked up the effort. So far, congressional efforts to pass a national privacy law have gained the most momentum with lawmakers.
“For years, social media platforms have been relying on all sorts of tricks and tools to convince users to hand over their personal data without really understanding what they are consenting to,” Warner, who serves as vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement. The legislation is dubbed DETOUR, for “Deceptive Experiences to Online Users Reduction” Act.
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