In wake of recent hack, lawmakers query company about privacy protections for children 12 years old and under
Washington (December 2, 2015) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D–Mass.) and Congressman Joe Barton (R –Tex.), co-founders of the Bi-Partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus, today sent a letter to digital toy producer VTech requesting information on what data it collects on children using its products and how it protects that sensitive information.
According to recent reports, a hacker breached VTech’s customer database, accessing approximately five million customer accounts and related children’s profiles. The hacker stole profile information including names, email addresses, mailing addresses and download history. The hacker also stole data about children, including names, genders, and birthdates.
“We write to convey our concerns about the recent cybersecurity attack on your company and the resulting theft of private information on millions of Americans, including children 12 years old and younger,” write Senator Markey and Congressman Barton. “This breach raises several questions about what information VTech collects on children, how that data is protected, and how VTech complies with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).”
A copy of the letter to VTech can be found HERE.
In their letter, Senator Markey and Congressman Barton ask for responses to questions that include what data is the company collecting about children 12 years old and younger, how VTech uses data collected about children, and if VTech shares or sells information about kids.
In June, Senator Markey and Rep. Barton, joined by Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), introduced the Do Not Track Kids Act, comprehensive children's online privacy legislation that updates COPPA by expanding and enhancing rules for the collection, use and disclosure of children's personal information. The legislation establishes new protections for personal information of children and teens, including extending protections to teens ages 13 to 15 by prohibiting Internet companies from collecting personal and location information from teens without their consent.