“Do Not Track Kids Act of 2013” Introduced in Congress

Two powerful members of Congress have introduced legislation that would impose new restrictions on the collection of personal information from teenagers in the online environment.  The “Do Not Track Kids Act of 2013” was introduced yesterday in the Senate by Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) and in the House by Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) and Bobby Rush (D-IL). A press release is available here.

The bills would prohibit online companies from collecting personal and location information from anyone under 13 without parental consent and anyone 13 to 15 years old without the user’s consent.  They would require consent of the parent or teen prior to sending targeted advertising to the teen.  The bills would create an “eraser button” for parents and children by requiring companies to allow users to eliminate publicly available personal information when technologically feasible.

Similar legislation was introduced in the House in 2011 when Senator Markey was a member of the House of Representatives.

ANA was a strong supporter of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) which was passed by Congress in 1998 to regulate the collection of information from and about children age 13 and younger.  However, we have serious concerns about the need for a government-mandated “Do Not Track” mechanism for teenagers.  Such an approach could restrict the ability of teenagers to get information about a broad range of issues.  We believe the best way to address the privacy concerns of teenagers and others in the online environment is through the industry self-regulatory program of the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA).  That program prohibits companies from collecting personal information from children when they have actual knowledge that the children are under 13.

We will be working with our colleagues in the DAA to respond to these bills.  We would greatly appreciate any input you have about the impact of these bills on your company.

Please contact Dan Jaffe (djaffe@ana.net) or Keith Scarborough (kscarborough@ana.net) in ANA’s Washington, DC office at (202) 296-1883 with your comments.