Lawmakers applaud progress, call for tough rules to protect children’s and teens’ privacy, warn FTC action ‘doesn’t diminish’ need for Congress to act
Text of the letter (PDF)
Washington (September 30, 2022) — Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, led fellow Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Representatives Kathy Castor (FL-14) and Lori Trahan (MA-03) in sending a letter to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Lina Khan applauding the FTC’s continued efforts to implement strong privacy protections. privacy and receive expert feedback on how to effectively combat surveillance threats to children and teens online. FTCs announcement of an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) for online privacy, which paid particular attention to threats to young people online, coincided with the first anniversary of the the wall street journalthe publication of Facebook filesleaked internal Facebook documents, which made it clear the company was aware of the damage its Instagram platform is doing to the mental health of young people.
In the lawmakers’ letter to the FTC, they also urge the Commission to update the rules issued under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Specifically, lawmakers are calling on the Commission to update the regulations, including by:
- Expand the definition of “personal information” covered by COPPA;
- Implement rules to implement COPPA’s requirement that platforms protect the privacy, security, and integrity of children’s data;
- Implement regulatory protections that reflect the increased use of online platforms for educational purposes; and
- Implement rules to implement COPPA’s prohibition on making a child’s participation in online activity conditional on the child sharing more data than is reasonably necessary.
“Experts agree we have reached a crisis point for children and teens online, as rates of mental health issues for them soar, and the US Surgeon General has called on tech companies and social media to deal with these threats to young people.“wrote the lawmakers. “In countries around the world, government entities have begun to take action by adopting policies that combat pernicious online threats to children. The United States must now do the same.
In their letter, the lawmakers stress that the FTC’s latest commitment to explore rules to “crack down on harmful commercial surveillance and lax data security” does not diminish Congress’s urgent obligation to quickly pass legislation that will protect young online users, including Senator Markey’s update. Children and Young Persons Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA 2.0).
“The urgency of this problem requires a comprehensive approach,” lawmakers sued. “We look forward to working with you as these processes move forward to ensure that children and adolescents in the United States have the online protections they need and deserve.”
In May 2021, Senator Markey introduced the Children and Young Persons Online Privacy Protection Act, co-sponsored by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Commerce Committee members Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), which would prohibit Internet companies from collecting personal information from anyone between the ages of 13 and 16 without the user’s consent; prohibit marketing targeted at children; create an online “eraser button” by requiring companies to allow users to delete a child or teenager’s personal information; implement a “Digital Marketing Bill of Rights for Minors” that limits the collection of personal information from young users; and create a Youth Privacy and Marketing Division, the first of its kind, in the Federal Trade Commission, which will be responsible for ensuring the privacy of children and minors and marketing aimed at children and minors. to children and minors. The bill, which went to the Senate Commerce Committee in July, builds on the senator’s 1998 decision Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
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