Kids today enjoy unprecedented access to the Internet on their computers, cell phones, and tablets. While the Internet remains an incredible tool for learning and sharing, it has also become a way for companies and strangers to track and target our children. Tracking the online movements of children and teens – and collecting their personal data – has quickly become widespread. Companies that collect this information about children and teens then sell the information to advertisers and data brokers, compiling detailed digital dossiers.
Rep. Markey is the House author of the Children’s Online Privacy Protect Act of 1998 (COPPA), which took major steps towards protecting the personal information of children online. However, this law does not reflect what the Internet looks like today. To address these changes, Rep. Markey introduced the Do Not Track Kids Act (H.R. 1895) to strengthen online safeguards for children and teens. The Do Not Track Kids Act updates COPPA by addressing changes in technology and Internet usage. The bill would prohibit Internet companies from sending targeted advertising to children and minors; prohibit Internet companies from collecting personal and location information from anyone under 13 without parental consent and anyone 13 to 17 years old without the user’s consent; and require website operators to have an “eraser button” capability for the deletion or elimination of information about children and minors.