Markey, Barton Release Discussion Draft of Do Not Track Kids Online Act of 2011

Published On May 11, 2011 | By Lisa Branco | General, Privacy
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On Friday, May 6, Reps. Joe Barton (R-TX) and Ed Markey (D-MA) released a discussion draft of the Do Not Track Kids Online Act of 2011. If passed, the bill would amend the existing Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) and impose other restrictions on the collection and use of information by operators of websites, online services, online applications, or mobile applications from children under 13 and minors (defined in the bill as individuals “over the age of 12 and under the age of 18”).

The bill would amend COPPA as follows:

–  The definition of “operator” would be expanded to include anyone who operates online services, online applications and mobile applications targeted to children (in addition to websites);

–  The definition of “personal information” would be expanded to include the following:

  • Information (including an Internet protocol address) 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;
  • Any unique or substantially unique identifier, such as a customer number concerning the child or the parents of the child.

–  The definition of “website or online service directed to children” would be replaced by a definition of “online, online service, online application, mobile application directed to children,” with “online service” to specifically include “broadband Internet access service.”

–  The FTC would be given authority to enforce the provisions of COPPA with respect to telecommunications carriers.
In addition to amending COPPA, the bill would also impose the following on operators of websites, online services, online applications, or mobile applications:

  • Prohibit operators from using personal information collected from children or minors for “targeted marketing purposes”;
  • Require operators to implement a “Digital Marketing Bill of Rights for Teens” that follows the Fair Information Practices Principles (limits on collection, data quality, purpose specification, use limitation, openness, and individual participation);
  • Prohibit operators from collecting geolocation information from children or minors without giving “clear and conspicuous” notice that such information will be collected and obtaining permission from parents (when collecting the info from children) or from minors;
  • Provide an “eraser button” mechanism to allow users to erase “publicly available” personal information of children or minors available through the operator’s website, online service, online application, or mobile application.

Both the FTC and state Attorneys General would have authority to bring enforcement actions under the Act. Violations of rules promulgated under the Act would be treated as unfair or deceptive acts or practices under section 18(a)(1)(B) of the FTC Act.

The full text of the draft bill can be found here.