Oct. 5, 2011: Statement at Hearing on
The Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade hearing,
“Protecting Children's Privacy in an Electronic World."
October 5, 2011
“I thank the Gentle Lady from California for granting my request and for holding this important hearing today on children’s privacy in an online world.
“I am the House author of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, which Congress passed and President Clinton signed into law in 1998.
“COPPA is the communications constitution when it comes to protecting kids online, but we need to update it to take into account the explosive growth and innovation in the online ecosystem over the last 13 years.
“I commend the Federal Trade Commission for its thoughtful and comprehensive review and for its proposed changes to the COPPA rule, which reflect and reinforce many of the same safeguards contained in the Do Not Track Kids Act that I introduced this past May with Representative Joe Barton.
“As in our bill, the Commission appropriately notes that teens should be provided with clear information about how their personal data is used and also empowered to exercise control over these uses.
“As in our bill, the Commission also proposes to add a child’s location information under the category of personal data that require a parent’s permission before it’s collected or used. Given the potential for this sensitive data to be misused to endanger a child, the Commission’s proposal in this area is a much-needed step.
“I commend the Commission for rejecting arguments that voluntary, self-regulatory efforts are the best way to address privacy concerns in connection with behavioral targeting of children online. Strong legal requirements along with vigilant enforcement are needed to protect children from tracking and targeting on the Internet.
“Children should be able to grow up in an ‘electronic oasis’ that enables access to online education, communication and entertainment opportunities in a safe environment.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues on the bipartisan ‘Do Not Track Kids Act’ to strengthen privacy safeguards and ensure that kids and teens are protected when they go online.”
In May, Reps. Markey and Joe Barton (R-Texas) introduced the “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 also establishes new protections for the personal information of children and teens.
The “Do Not Track Kids Act of 2011” strengthens privacy protections for children and teens by:
• Requiring online companies to explain the types of personal information collected, how that information is used and disclosed, and the policies for collection of personal information;
• Requiring online companies to obtain parental consent for collection of children’s personal information;
• Prohibiting online companies from using personal information of children and teens for targeted marketing purposes;
• Establishing a “Digital Marketing Bill of Rights for Teens” that limits the collection of personal information of teens, including geolocation information of children and teens;
• Creating an “Eraser Button” for parents and children by requiring companies to permit users to eliminate publicly available personal information content when technologically feasible.