Kids Do Not Track Bill Introduced

As expected, Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) have reintroduced House and Senate versions of their Do Not Track Kids Act, which would, among other things, extend Markey's Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) protections for "collection, use and disclosure of children's personal information" to teenagers 13-15.

It would also create an "eraser button" for personal info online and a digital marketing "bill of rights" that includes limiting geo-location information collection.

COPPA protections currently only apply to kids 12 and under.

The bills (S.1700 in the Senate, H.R. 3481 in the House) would prevent Internet companies from collecting personal info from those teens without their consent and would create the "eraser button" long promoted by the Markey/Barton team. The button would allow parents and children (and teens) to eliminate personal online information where it is technically feasible.

Specifically, the bill would:

  • "Prohibit Internet companies from collecting personal and location information from anyone under 13 without parental consent and anyone 13 to 15 years old without the user's consent;
  • "Require consent of the parent or teen prior to sending targeted advertising to children and teens; 
  • "Establish a "Digital Marketing Bill of Rights for Teens" that limits the collection of personal information of teens, including geo-location information of children and teens;
  • "Create an "Eraser Button" for parents and children by requiring companies to permit users to eliminate publicly available personal information content when technologically feasible; and
  • "Require online companies to explain the types of personal information collected, how that information is used and disclosed, and the policies for collection of personal information."

Also sponsoring the bill are Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.).

Markey signaled to Multichannel News earlier this year that protecting kids privacy online would be a key issue for him in the Senate, as it had been in the House, where he and Barton co-chaired a bipartisan privacy caucus.

A Markey/Barton do not track bill failed to gain traction in the last Congress.

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.