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Google, Facebook to have limits in online tracking and data sharing

In a recent announcement, it has been declared that Google and Facebook would have a limitation on the online tracking and data sharing that power their advertising businesses under a bipartisan House proposal to make India’s first federal privacy law. The draft legislation from the House Energy & Commerce Committee, which looks at online privacy issues, could end companies’ power to check users across the web and need them to get permission to share their customers’ data with others. It would also permit the users to opt-out of receiving advertising from companies with which they already have relationships.

The initiative comes as a giant technology companies are getting pressurised in Washington on multiple fronts, including antitrust scrutiny, outrage over their lack of control over the content on their sites and accusations that they are biased against orthodox ideas. If passed, the measure could become one of the major challenges to their crown jewels — in-depth knowledge about their users — and a test of whether their lobbying clout can fend off the threat.

The restrictions could gum up the gears of the vast ad-technology machinery that Google and Facebook have made. Combined, those fresh responsibilities and others would make the proposal better than a strict new California law, said Republican Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington State, who supported in developing the text. Companies are heading towards complying with the California statute, which goes into action from Jan 1 but won’t be executed until next July.

The limitations in the proposal, which is the product of a year’s worth of discussion by lawmakers in both parties, could harm the profitability of practices that helped Google and Facebook build their powerful position in the $330 billion digital ad market. The companies not only check users on their own platforms, but they also track consumers on millions of third-party sites. The practice often justifies why people see ads for products they’ve looked at elsewhere, often within seconds.

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