Washington (July 27, 2022) – Today, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and longtime champion of children’s online protections, released the following statement after successful passage of his Children and Teens’ Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA 2.0) through the Senate Commerce Committee, legislation that will update Senator Markey’s 1998 law, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act:
“Protecting kids online has long been a priority of mine. In 1998, Congress enacted the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act—a law I authored. And that law is still the constitution of children’s privacy today. But so much has changed since 1998. The threats to kids’ privacy and wellbeing are more pressing than ever. Unfortunately, the sad truth is that today, too many online platforms have an insatiable appetite for young people’s data and attention. Too many online platforms are built on a business model that seeks to hook consumers at a young age by any means necessary. Too many online platforms amass troves of kids’ personal information to power black-box algorithms that amplify toxic content, harming users’ mental and physical wellbeing every day. It’s time to address these issues head on.
“The Senate Commerce Committee this morning took a historic step towards stopping Big Tech’s predatory behavior from harming kids every day. We need to send a loud message to Big Tech that enough is enough. Enough prioritizing money over mental health. Enough prioritizing profits over people. Enough prioritizing growth and business over girls and boys in this country.
“Today, the internet is a child’s 21st Century playground. We can’t keep them safe from every potential risk. But we can—and we must—stop the pernicious online systems that are surveilling and manipulating an entire generation of Americans. It’s time for Congress to meet the moment and act with the urgency that these issues demand. Children may represent 20 percent of our population, but they are 100 percent of our future. I look forward to this legislation moving to the Senate floor, and I urge my colleagues – both Democrats and Republicans – to support this critical legislation. We need to pass children’s privacy protections this year.”
The COPPA 2.0 legislation, 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 and marketing directed at children and minors.