Senator Edward J. Markey and Rep. Joe Barton will soon be reintroducing their Do Not Track Kids Act, a bill that would update the existing Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), The Hill reports. Senator Markey, a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, and Rep. Barton, the co-char of the Congressional Bi-partisan Privacy Caucus, believe that COPPA needs to be updated to reflect the new “Internet ecosystem” of the 21st century.

They cite a recent report from Commonsense Media that found 70% of children under the age of eight have used a mobile device and those children spend triple the amount of time on these devices than in previous years. The Do Not Track Kids Act of 2011 proposed several key updates to COPPA that weredesigned to curb the tracking of minors’ activities on the Internet.

These updates included:

  • Restricting operators of a website, online service, online application, or mobile application directed to minors from collecting personal information if the purpose of doing so is for targeted marketing purposes.
  • Creating a Digital Marketing Bill of Rights limiting how, when and what information from minors may be collected by website operators.
  • Requiring website operators to provide clear notice about what geolocation the operator collects and how they use it, obtain verifiable parental consent prior to information collection, and provide to the minor or parent any geolocation information collected by the operator upon request.
  • Requiring website operators to implement mechanisms, or “eraser buttons,” that allows users to delete content that is publicly available on the website and contains or displays personal information of the minor.

The Do Not Track Kids Act of 2011 is similar to California’s recently passed SB 568, approved by Governor Brown on September 23rd. A common theme in both of these bills is the restriction against collecting information about minors for the purpose of targeted marketing purposes, although SB 568 only restricts information collection for the use of marketing certain products, not all. In addition, both pieces of legislation include a requirement for allowing minors to request the removal of certain content or information posted to a website; however, the Do Not Track Kids Act limits this requirement to information or content that contains or displays personal information of the minor.

It will be interesting to see if Sen. Markey and Rep. Barton make any changes to the new bill, such as banning the advertisement of certain products to minors on websites like SB 568 or requiring operators to disclose how they will treat Do Not Track signals from users’ browsers. We will be following the progression of this bill and keep you updated on any new provisions that may be added when reintroduced.

“Lawmakers to Reintroduce Do Not Track Kids Act” was written by Sam Imandoust, Esq., CIPP, CIPA. He serves as a legal analyst for the Identity Theft Resource Center. We welcome you to post/reprint the above article, as written, giving credit to the author and linking back to the original posting.