U.S. Senators have introduced a new bill which aims to ban websites from using manipulative online consent forms to convince users to sign away the rights to their data.

A new bill titled the Deceptive Experiences To Online Users Reduction (DETOUR) has been introduced by U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Deb Fischer (R-NE). Motherboard reports that the bill aims to make certain methods used by companies to manipulate users into signing over the rights to their data illegal and punishable by the FTC.

The bill would ban companies from manipulating children into staying on their platform compulsively and manipulating adults into signing away the rights to their data. The legislation is not unlike the E.U.’S GDPR laws which require that companies receive consent from users before collecting their data.

The DETOUR act makes it illegal to “design, modify, or manipulate a user interface” in an effort to impair a users ability to decide how their personal data is utilized. Specifically, the “style, layout, and text” of a privacy policy will be examined in relation to this. Sen. Warner cited an early version of Facebook’s Messenger app as an example of a manipulative interface.

An early version of Facebook Messenger included bold text with an arrow pointing to the “OK” button which gave Facebook access to a users contacts. Under the DETOUR act, this would not be allowed. The act would also ban “compulsive usage” features on sites aimed at children aged 13 or younger. This would take aim at sites like YouTube which has auto-play features enabled on both its regular site and its YouTube Kids app.

The act would also affect  “behavioral or psychological experiments or studies,” such as the one performed by Cambridge Analytica which gained user information through a personality type quiz. The bill would require that any studies performed inform users and gain consent first, experimenters would also have to make routine disclosures to participants in the study and to the public every 90 days.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or email him at

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