Protecting Personal Information: Achieving a Balance between User Privacy and Behavioral Targeting

Websites and mobile applications provide immeasurable benefits to both users and companies. These services often collect vast amounts of personal information from the individuals that use them, including sensitive details such as Social Security numbers, credit card information, and physical location. Personal data collection and dissemination leave users vulnerable to various threats that arise from the invasion of their privacy, particularly because users are often ignorant of the existence or extent of these practices. Current privacy law does not provide users with adequate protection from the risks attendant to the collection and dissemination of their personal information. This Note advocates a comprehensive solution: a federal statute that introduces a contractual mentality to encourage informed consent to companies’ data collection and dissemination practices.