WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Edward Markey wants web sites to come with an “erase button” that parents can use to scrub personal information about their children from the Internet.
The proposal is one of several updates that the Massachusetts Democrat says are needed to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, which he authored as a House member.
“The Internet is has fast become a child’s 21st century playground, and we need to make sure parents can keep their kids safe,” he said.
Markey introduced the “Do Not Track Kids Act” on Thursday to expand and enhance rules for the collection, use and disclosure of children’s personal information. He was joined by Sens. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. Reps. Joe Barton, R-Texas, and Bobby Rush, D-Ill., introduced a companion bill in the House.
The legislation would require parental consent for Internet companies to collect personal and location information about anyone under age 13. They would have to get user’s consent for anyone 13 to 15 years old. Similarly, Internet companies would have to get parent or teen consent to send targeted advertising.
The bill would also establish a “Digital Marketing Bill of Rights for Teens” to limit what personal information of teens can be collected by Internet companies. And, where technology allows, the bill would make it possible for personal information about children to be erased from web sites.
“The Do Not Track Kids Act puts parents in control of their children’s information and contains commonsense protections for teenagers. As we see every day the implications when personal information gets hacked, I hope the least we can do is come together on a bipartisan basis to provide a privacy bill of rights for children and teens in our country,” Markey said.
The 1998 law needs to be modernized to keep pace with technological changes as well, Markey said. Most smart phones now come with camera and GPS functions that were unavailable in 1998. There has also been an explosion in directed advertising where advertisers purchase query data collected by search engines to pinpoint their messages. And, the old law covered children up to age 13 – the new version would expand the protections to children ages 16 and under.
“Our world today is vastly different than when I was a kid. We did not have an Internet where companies collected personal information and created profiles, we did not have mobile devices with Internet access, and we did not have the technological ability to track my location.
Unfortunately, my nine year-old son is growing up in a world that communicates primarily online with little to no choice on how big companies collect his information,” Barton said.
Source: Herald News