In a move that attempts to curb the data collection practices of tech giants, two senators have proposed a legislation to update online privacy rules for children in the United States. If passed, tech companies and data brokers will be unable to collect data on teens aged 13 to 15 without their consent.
The bill, introduced by senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo)Tuesday seeks to amend the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) - to add protections to the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information of children and minors.
The legislation proposes a “Digital Marketing Bill of Rights for Minors” that makes it unlawful for websites, apps, and online services to collect personal information of a minor, and a ban on targeted advertising directed at children, and a prohibition on ads targeting based on race, socioeconomic factors, psychological profiles and location data of children up to the age of 15.
“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,” said senator Markey, the original House author of COPPA, which took effect in April 2000. “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.”
The bill also proposes prohibiting the sale of internet connected devices targeted towards children and minors unless they meet robust cyber security standards. Manufacturers of such devices would have to display on their packaging, a privacy dashboard detailing how information is collected, transmitted, retained, used, and protected.
“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 Senator Hawley in a press statement.
In late February this year, TikTok, the popular video social networking app paid $5.7 million to the FTC over COPPA violations.