Senator Ed Markey and Rep. Joe Barton have reintroduced House and Senate versions of their Do Not Track Kids Act, which would extend the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) protections for "collection, use and disclosure of children's personal information" to teenagers 13-15.
The legislation would: prohibit Internet companies from collecting personal and location
information from anyone under 13 without parental consent and anyone 13
to 15 years old without the user's consent; require consent of the parent or teen prior to behavioral advertising to children and teens; establish a "Digital Marketing Bill of Rights for Teens" that limits
the collection of personal information of teens, including geo-location
information of children and teens; create an "eraser button" for parents and children by requiring
companies to permit users to eliminate publicly available personal content when technologically feasible; and require digital companies to explain the types of personal
information collected, how that information is utilized, and
the policies for collection of personal information.
While I am not generally in favor of stricter regulations on the digital ecosystem that may potentially put greater constraints on how Internet companies may operate, the data collection and privacy policies of some companies have crossed the line and appear to require greater legal scrutiny. According to a recent USA Today article about digital privacy and young people, "....the NSA can tap into online data to the extent it does largely
because commercial companies, led by Google and Facebook, pursue
business models that treat consumer privacy as a free profit-making
The bottom line is that some companies have abused their marketplace position and it appears that a legislative fix is needed to protect our children from companies that put profits ahead of privacy.
Copyright 2013 by the Law Office of Bradley S. Shear, LLC All rights reserved.