Markey, Barton Bring Back Do Not Track Kids Bill

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It would extend digital privacy protections to teens 13-15

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) aren't giving up on passing legislation to extend online and mobile privacy protections to teens 13 to 15. On Thursday, the privacy duo, along with Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), re-introduced the Do Not Track Kids Act.

The bill would extend many of the digital privacy protections in the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (Coppa) that already covers children 12 and under to teens 13 to 15 by prohibiting Internet companies from collecting personal and location information without consent. It would also create an "eraser button" for removing personal information.

Markey, the author of Coppa (passed in 1998 and updated this year to include mobile) when he was a member of the House, and Barton introduced a similar Do Not Track Kids bill in 2011 and 2012, but it never advanced.

This bill might get more traction especially since Senate Commerce chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), who introduced a more general Do Not Track act, has shown a strong interest in privacy issues.

"We must not allow the era of big data to become big danger for children on the Internet in the 21st century," Markey said in a statement. "It is time for Congress to take action to ensure that children and teens are fully protected when they go online and parents have the tools they need to protect their kids."

In addition to requiring consent from parents (for children 13 and under) and teens to collect personal information, the bill also requires consent to deliver behaviorally targeted advertising. Another provision requires online companies to explain policies for the collection of personal information, how it is used and disclosed.

The re-introduction of the Do Not Track Kids bill drew immediately kudos from Consumer Watchdog and Consumers Union.

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