Washington (August 11, 2022) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, released the following statement after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking to bolster online consumer privacy protections:

“As a longtime advocate for comprehensive privacy protections, I wholeheartedly support the FTC’s efforts to explore strong online privacy rules. I thank Chair Khan for her tireless work to protect consumers and look forward to working with her and the rest of the Commission on this proceeding. While a strong update to online privacy protections is needed, it is no substitute for Congressional action. We have reached a crisis point when it comes to children and teen’s well-being online. I applaud Commissioners Slaughter and Bedoya for highlighting children and teens as a vulnerable population online, since lax online data practices can pose a heightened threat to young people.

“Protecting kids online has long been a top priority of mine, and I am committed to modernizing our laws to end the pernicious and invasive data collection practices that are targeting and harming our children and teens. It’s time for Congress to meet the moment and act with the urgency that these issues demand by passing my bipartisan legislation, the Children and Teens’ Online Privacy Protection Act.”

The Children and Teens' Online Privacy Protection Act, co-sponsored by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Commerce Committee members Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), would prohibit internet companies from collecting personal information from anyone 13- to 16-years old without the user’s consent; ban targeted marketing to children; create an online “Eraser Button” by requiring companies to permit users to eliminate personal information from a child or teen; implement a “Digital Marketing Bill of Rights for Minors” that limits the collection of personal information from young users; and establish a first-of-its-kind Youth Privacy and Marketing Division at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which will be responsible for addressing the privacy of children and minors, as well as marketing directed at children and minors.

In September 2021, Senator Markey joined Senator Blumenthal in sending a letter to the FTC, calling upon the Commission to advance rulemaking on consumer privacy, bolster civil rights, and establish guardrails on the collection and use of consumer’s personal data.

In June 2022, Senator Markey reignited the call for privacy rulemaking in a letter he led to the FTC, urging the Commission to use the full scope of its authority to protect marginalized communities online. In the letter, Senator Markey and his colleagues highlighted how communities of color are particularly vulnerable to discriminatory and harmful online data practices, and urged the FTC to use its rulemaking authority to stop these practices. In the same letter, Senator Markey called on the FTC to use its full authority to combat invasive and discriminatory biometric surveillance tools.