Bipartisan Senators Propose Bill To Stop Big Tech Companies’ ‘Spying on Children’

Bipartisan Senators Propose Bill To Stop Big Tech Companies’ ‘Spying on Children’


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Janet Ybarra
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced legislation aimed at stopping corporate giants, including social media titans, from targeting and tracking kids online.

Among its many provisions, the bipartisan bill would update the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by prohibiting 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, according to the authors of the legislation.

“Big tech companies know too much about our kids, and even as parents, we know too little about what they are doing with our kids’ personal data. It’s time to hold them accountable,” said Hawley, a freshman member. “Congress needs to get serious about keeping our children’s information safe, and it begins with safeguarding their digital footprint online.”

The legislation also would create an “eraser button” so parents and kids can delete personal information, and a “Digital Marketing Bill of Rights for Minors” that limits the collection of personal information, its authors say.

The bill additionally would establish a first of its kind Youth Privacy and Marketing Division at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which will be responsible for addressing the privacy of children and minors and marketing directed at children and minors.

Text of the bill can be found HERE.

“The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act remains the constitution for kids’ privacy online, but today we introduce an accompanying bill of rights,” said Markey, original House author of COPPA. “In 2019, children and adolescents’ every move is monitored online, and even the youngest are bombarded with advertising when they go online to do their homework, talk to friends, and play games. In the 21st century, we need to pass bipartisan and bicameral COPPA 2.0 legislation that puts children’s well-being at the top of Congress’s priority list. If we can agree on anything, it should be that children deserve strong and effective protections online.”    

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