Legislation would protect minors from internet spying

Stopping big tech from spying on kids

MISSOURI (KFVS) - In the internet age, consumers may worry that internet companies are spying on them.

Legislation introduced on March 12 by U.S. Senators Josh Hawley (R-Mo) and Ed Markey (D-Mass) is aimed at stopping corporations like social media titans from targeting and tracking children online.

Read the text of the bill here.

Officials said the legislation extends protections for 13 to 15-year-old minors. The bipartisan bill would update the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

Lawmakers said the legislation strengthens privacy protections for children by:

  • banning targeted advertising directed at children
  • revising COPPA’s “Actual knowledge” standard to a “constructive knowledge” standard for the definition of covered operators
  • requiring 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,
  • prohibiting the sale of internet connected devices to children and minors unless they meet robust cyber security standards
  • requiring manufacturers of connected devices to children and minors to prominently display on their packaging a privacy dashboard detailing how sensitive information is collected, transmitted, retained, used, and protected

According to lawmakers the bill prohibits internet companies from collecting personal and location information from anyone under the age of 13 without parental consent and from anyone ages 13 to 15 without the user’s consent.

Lawmakers said the legislation creates an “eraser button” so parents and kids can delete personal information. It also forms a “Digital Marketing Bill of Rights for Minors” that limits the collection of personal information.

This bill would additionally establish a first of its kind Youth Privacy and Marketing Division at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) according to lawmakers.

The division will be responsible for addressing the privacy of children and minors and marketing directed at children and minors.

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