July 14, 2011: Markey Speaks at Joint Hearing on Internet Privacy

Statement from Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.)

Energy and Commerce Committee

Joint Hearing of the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet

and the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade

 “Internet Privacy: The Views of the FTC, the FCC, and NTIA”

Questions for Witnesses

July 14, 2011


“In May, I introduced bi-partisan legislation with Joe Barton to strengthen privacy safeguards for children and teenagers.  Our bill, the Do Not Track Kids Act, would update the Children Online Privacy Protection Act for the 21st century to cover newer applications and services like geolocation technologies that didn’t exist when COPPA was signed into law 13 years ago. 


“COPPA is the communications constitution when it comes to protecting kids online, but we need to amend it to take into account the explosive growth and innovation in the online ecosystem since 1998. 1998 was way back in the B.F. Era – Before Facebook.


“In addition to updating COPPA, our bill also contains commonsense protections for teenagers.  Our bill’s Digital Marketing Bill of Rights stipulates that web sites, online apps operators and operators of mobile apps directed to teens clearly explain why they need to collect the data to operate the app or service, requires them to collect only as much information as necessary, and ensure that the data is safeguarded.


“Our bill also prohibits operators from collecting geolocation information from a child or minor without parental permission, in the case of a child, and without the consent of the teen user in the case of a minor.


“Finally, our bill includes an Eraser Button provision.  This important privacy protection requires operators of web sites or online applications that contain or display personal information about children or minors to enable users to erase or otherwise eliminate publicly available personal information on the content on the website personal information about children.


“I would hope that the least we could accomplish this year is to provide a privacy bill of rights for children in our country. We can see now what the implications are if that information gets hacked.”