Sept. 15, 2011: Markey, Barton Praise FTC

Lawmakers introduced ‘Do Not Track Kids’ legislation to protect online privacy of children and teens
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), House author of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Action (COPPA) and current Co-Chairman of the Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, today commended the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for proposing several updates to the rule implementing COPPA that would mandate new privacy safeguards and add parental permission requirements before collecting and sharing more types of information from children under age 13. In May, Reps. Markey and Joe Barton (R-Tex.) 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 and teenagers’ personal information. The bi-partisan legislation also establishes new protections for the personal information of children and teens.
The Commission’s proposed changes to the rule implementing Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act reflect and reinforce many of the same safeguards in the Do Not Track Kids Act that I introduced in May with Representative Barton,” said Rep. Markey.
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.  I look forward to working with the Commission as it explores new approaches for affording greater online privacy protections to this impressionable age group. 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.  The current children’s online privacy protection law 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 since 1998. For kids and teens, the Internet is online oxygen – they can’t live without it.  I look forward to working with my colleagues on the bi-partisan ‘Do Not Track Kids Act’ to strengthen privacy safeguards and ensure that kids and teens are protected when they go online
,” said Rep. Markey.
“These days some kids are playing on iPads before they learn to ride a bike,” said Rep. Barton. “Computers have become an increasing part of childhood, which is why I support the FTC’s efforts to update the policies they use to better protect young people under COPPA.
“These new rules would go a long way in limiting kids’ exposure to online dangers and giving parents more control over what their kids see and who they communicate with on the computer.
“But COPPA was passed back in 1998 and since then, our online world has grown exponentially and newer technologies have been developed. Due to this rapid expansion, Representative Markey and I introduced the Do Not Track Kids Act of 2011, which, among other things, updates COPPA to include more advanced technologies.
“The FTC’s actions reveal that greater protection is indeed needed for our children,” said Rep. Barton “It is imperative that Congress addresses the need to protect our future leaders online, and I look forward to continuing this discussion with my colleagues.”