Children's Online Privacy Advocates Call for Better Protection for Teens

A coalition of children's online privacy advocates has called on the Obama administration to include teenagers in online privacy protections the Department of Commerce is promoting.

Commerce's Internet Policy Task Force, which is led by Commerce Attorney General and former cable attorney Cameron Kerry, recently issued a paper on commercial data privacy. But the groups, including the Center for Digital Democracy, Benton Foundation, and others, argue that those initial recommendations do not sufficiently protect adolescents.

That came in comments on the paper, which Kerry solicited and welcomed, saying the recommendations were a starting point.

The groups want the end point to include behavioral targeting information as part of the definition of protected personal information, a definition of "online services" broad enough to include online gaming, digital signage, mobile phones and applications, and giving more protections to adolescents.

Currently, protections under the Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) apply to kids 12 and under.

Both Commerce and the Federal Trade Commission are working on new regimes to update privacy protections, including possible changes to COPPA, and have solicited comment from the public and interested stakeholders

Also signing on to the letter were American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Academy of Pediatrics, Children Now, Consumer Action Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Watchdog, National Consumers League Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, World Privacy Forum.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.