‘Do Not Track Kids’ Tracks Back to Congress

Advertising Law

The Do Not Track Kids Act has made a return to Congress, with lawmakers hoping the third time will be the charm and the protections of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) will be extended to children up to age 15.

COPPA currently regulates the collection, use and disclosure of the personal information of children under the age of 13 and requires parental consent. In the 2018 iteration of the Do Not Track Kids Act—after prior efforts failed in 2011 and 2015—Internet companies would be similarly prohibited from collecting and using personal information of persons ages 13 to 15 without the users’ consent.  

S. 2932 also features the creation of an “Eraser Button,” which would permit teens (and their parents) to eliminate publicly available personal content submitted by the child, where technologically feasible. Advertising targeted at children would be prohibited by the bill.

Companies would also be required to meet security standards set by the Federal Trade Commission before they could sell connected devices targeting persons under age 16 and to “prominently display” on the packaging of connected devices a “privacy dashboard” detailing the extent to which personal information is collected, transmitted, retained, used and protected.

“The Do Not Track Kids Act puts parents in control of their children’s information and contains commonsense protections for teenagers,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said in a statement about his reintroduction of the measure. “As we see every day the implications when personal information gets hacked, I hope the least we can do is come together on a bipartisan basis to provide a privacy bill of rights for children and minors in our country.”

In addition to Sen. Markey, sponsors of the bill include Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Reps. Joe Barton (R-Texas) and Bobby Rush (D-Ill.). Barton and Markey first proposed the legislation in 2011, when Markey was still in the House of Representatives. That version applied more broadly to all minors under the age of 18.

The Do Not Track Kids Act was referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

To read S. 2932, click here

Why it matters: Will the third time be the charm for the Do Not Track Kids Act? Backed by the same lawmakers and consumer groups (the Center for Digital Democracy and the Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood), the bill could follow a path similar to the one it took the first two times it appeared, remaining stuck in committee. Or perhaps, since privacy concerns have gained momentum in light of recent scandals and data breaches, 2018 could be the year the bill passes.



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