Markey, Barton introduce anti-children's data collection bill in House

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US Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas) introduced an amendment to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act on May 13 that would prevent companies from collecting minors' personal information for targeted marketing. The Do Not Track Kids Act of 2011 would also regulate data collection on mobile devices and online services directed at children.

Unlike the Do Not Track Online Act of 2011 introduced by US Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) on May 9, Markey and Barton's bill does not explicitly call for the creation of a Do Not Track mechanism. However, it would mandate the creation of a mechanism that parents or children could use to eliminate a minor's publicly available personal information. COPPA defines children as consumers under the age of 13, but the Markey-Barton amendment contains provisions that apply to all consumers under the age of 18.

“Over the past several months, there has been a deluge of data leaks, breaches and other exposures of children's personal information,” said Markey, in a statement. “When it comes to kids and their use of the Internet, it is particularly important that stringent privacy protections are applied so that children do not have their online behavior tracked or their personal information collected or disclosed.”

Companies with digital services “directed to children or minors” would be required to adopt a “Digital Marketing Bill of Rights for Teens.” The companies would have to give the consumer the ability to ascertain what personal information it has collected from him or her and how that data is being used.

The bill also calls for the Federal Trade Commission to define what qualifies as an online service directed at children.

The Do Not Track Kids Act of 2011 would also prohibit companies from collecting geolocation information, IP addresses, or any other information “that permits the identification of the computer of an individual, or any other device used by an individual to access the Internet or an online service, online application, or mobile application.”

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