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Markey, Barton Revive Do Not Track Kids Bill

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) have re-introduced their Do Not Track Kids Act, which would update the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA)—Markey was co-author of the law—to tighten rules for collecting, using and disclosing children's personal information online.

Also signing on to the bill are Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.).

The act "establishes new protections for personal information of children and teens, including extending protections to teens ages 13 to 15 [COPPA'S age cut-off is currently 12] by prohibiting Internet companies from collecting personal and location information from teens without their consent."

It also creates an "eraser button" that would allow kids and their parents to delete publically available personal information if it is technologically feasible to do so.

Specifically, the bill:

1.       "Prohibits 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;

2.       "Requires consent of the parent or teen prior to sending targeted advertising to children and teens;  

3.       "Establishes a 'Digital Marketing Bill of Rights for Teens' that limits the collection of personal information of teens, including geolocation information of children and teens;

4.       "Creates an 'Eraser Button' for parents and children by requiring companies to permit users to eliminate publicly available personal information content when technologically feasible; and

5.       "Requires 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."

It is only the latest reintroduction of the bill. The last time, with the same co-sponsors, came in 2013 after a 2011 effort failed to get traction.

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.