A group of federal lawmakers reintroduced the Do Not Track Kids Act, a bill to amend the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), with some changes since its last iteration in 2011.
COPPA prohibits the collection of “personal information”—including geolocation information—from children under the age of 13 without parental consent.
In 2011, Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Tex.) proposed to extend such protections to children under the age of 18 in the first Do Not Track Kids Act. The bill never made it out of committee.
Now, with Markey having moved to the Senate, he revived the legislation together with Reps. Barton (R-Tex.), Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), and Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). “The Do Not Track Kids Act puts parents in control of their children’s information and contains common sense protections for teenagers,” Sen. Markey said in a statement.
In a change from the earlier version of the Act, the age is lowered from 18 to 15. The new proposal will increase privacy protection by extending protection to kids between ages 13 to 15 by prohibiting companies from collecting personal information from teens without their consent.
Included in the bill is a “Digital Marketing Bill of Rights for Teens” that would set boundaries on the personal information that Internet companies can collect about teenagers, including geolocation information, and would require them to abide by fair information practice principles.
The Act also requires that companies obtain parental or teen consent prior to sending targeted advertising.
The updated version would also amend COPPA and require Internet companies “to provide clear and conspicuous notice in clear and plain language of the types of personal information the operator collects, how the operator uses such information, whether the operator discloses such information, and the procedures or mechanisms the operator uses to ensure that personal information is not collected from children except in accordance with the regulations promulgated.”
And “to the extent technologically feasible,” the bill would require companies to implement an “Eraser Button” mechanism that would permit users “to erase or otherwise eliminate content or information” that displays the personal information of children or minors. Notice that the mechanism is in place—along with a statement that the mechanisms do not guarantee the comprehensive removal of the content—must also be provided.
The Eraser Button concept was the basis for a 2013 California law that allows those under the age of 18 to delete material posted online to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The law also prohibits sites from compiling the personal information of minors to market products or services they cannot otherwise legally purchase or use, such as alcohol or tobacco.
To read the Do Not Track Kids Act, click here.
Why it matters: Privacy-related legislation has abounded this term in Congress, so the chances of passage for the reintroduced bipartisan Do Not Track Kids Act remain unclear.