Congressman introduced Do Not Track Kids Act legislation to protect online privacy of children and teens
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), co-Chairman of the Bi-partisan Privacy Caucus and senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee issued the following statement after release of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) new report, “Protecting Consumer Privacy in An Era of Rapid Change.” In the report, the FTC supports “exploration of the idea of an ‘eraser button,’ through which people can delete content that they post online” and highlights the “Do Not Track Kids Act”, legislation introduced by Reps. Markey and Joe Barton (R-Texas) that would strengthen online safeguards for children and teens and updates the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) of 1998.
“In the ever and fast-changing digital landscape, this new FTC report provides stakeholders many useful road signs for how to navigate towards strong online privacy policies in the 21st century, especially for children and teenagers,” said Rep. Markey, House author of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. “I commend the FTC for this comprehensive and timely set of recommendations, which reflects and reinforces many of the same safeguards contained in the Do Not Track Kids Act.
As in our legislation, the Commission appropriately highlights the importance of providing teens with clear information about how their personal data is used so they can be empowered to exercise control over these uses. The FTC notes that teens are especially vulnerable to targeted advertising due to their use of social media and mobile devices, making it all the more important that legally-enforceable privacy protections for this age group are updated for the 21st century.  We must ensure that this new age of ‘Big Data’ doesn’t become one of “Big Danger” for children and teens and that the strongest privacy protections are in place for families.  
I look forward to working with my colleagues this year to pass the bipartisan ‘Do Not Track Kids Act’ to strengthen privacy safeguards and ensure that children 15 and younger are protected when they go online.”
In May 2011, Reps. Markey and Barton introduced the H.R. 1895, “Do Not Track Kids Act of 2011”, legislation that amends COPPA to extend, enhance and update the provisions relating to the collection, use and disclosure of children’s personal information. The legislation prohibits Internet companies from sending targeted advertising to children and teens and collecting personal and location information without parental or individual consent.  The Do Not Track Kids Act also would require website operators to have an “eraser button” capability that enables the deletion or elimination of information about children and teens. The bill currently has 39 co-sponsors from both parties.