WATCH: Senator Markey on COPPA 2.0 and the need to strengthen children and teens’ online privacy protections

Washington (February 27, 2024) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), author of the?Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)?and a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today delivered remarks on the Senate floor calling for Congress to pass COPPA 2.0. The bipartisan legislation, which he introduced alongside Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.), would update Senator Markey’s 1998 law by strengthening and expanding online privacy protections, including banning targeted advertising to kids and teens, prohibiting excessive data collection on young people, and expanding existing COPPA protections to teenagers.

In July 2023, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee unanimously passed COPPA 2.0. Two weeks ago, Senator Markey announced that Senators Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chair and ranking member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, agreed to cosponsor COPPA 2.0.

Below are excerpts from his remarks:

“We know that Big Tech’s tracking, targeting, and traumatizing of our young people is contributing to this crisis. As the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing just a few weeks ago demonstrated, the Big Tech CEOs still don’t understand the damage they have caused and remain unwilling to make the necessary changes to fix their platforms and protect our children. Without a doubt, self-regulation has failed.

“When I first pushed for COPPA in 1998, I summarized my plan in three words: Disclosure, Knowledge, and No. Disclosure of privacy policies. Knowledge of information collected on our children. And no to the reuse or sale of that information. 

“Today, the same formula works — except the ‘No’ is now more like ‘No, No, No.’ Companies must still disclose their privacy practices to users, and must still ensure that parents can access the information collected on their kids and prohibit future use of that information. But we need to adapt stronger and more aggressive protections to disrupt Big Tech’s business model, to provide Big Tech with financial incentives to build healthy platforms for our young people.

“This is the ‘No. No. No.’ And it is the foundation of my and Senator Cassidy’s COPPA 2.0 legislation, which passed through the Senate Commerce Committee unanimously last year. 

“No targeted advertising. 

“No unnecessary data collection. 

“No deliberately ignoring young users. 

“By addressing the business model, COPPA 2.0 also preserves the real benefits of social media. It allows young people to open accounts, converse with friends and family, find new communities, learn, grow, develop, and take part in rich online spaces. I have heard from countless young people that those spaces are essential for their own development and growth. 

COPPA 2.0 is a bipartisan, common-sense effort to address Big Tech’s insatiable appetite for data, their incentive to addict our kids and teens to their platforms. By returning to the lessons from the 1990s, we can put an end to Big Tech’s impunity. We can turn social media platforms into healthy spaces for our young people. We can finally look our kids in the eye and say we are making changes for them. 

“Let’s pass COPPA 2.0.