Federal Trade Commission
plans to ask
for the power to enact tough measures to protect the privacy of consumers who use the Internet, according to
The New York Times
The FTC opted to make the move after deciding that Internet companies weren't doing enough to protect consumers, the
reported in its Saturday editions. The newspaper said an FTC survey recently found that only about 20% of big companies on the Internet had "adequate standards for protecting the privacy of Internet users."
The FTC's move would represent a shift away from its practice of letting Internet companies police themselves when it comes to consumer privacy issues, the
The news on Monday could move the stocks of companies that have aggressively gathered information on consumers.
, an Internet advertising company, is the best known of these companies.
said the legislation would enable the commission to regulate the type of notice consumers get about how information about them is used. In addition, the commission could set up rules regarding keeping such information away from third parties. The FTC could penalize companies that break the privacy rules.
But the newspaper also noted that it's unlikely that legislation will pass in this session of Congress because there are so few legislative days left and because Republicans have largely sided with the industry.