Senate bill would expand federal children’s privacy protection

On May 11, 2021, Senators Edward Markey (D-MA) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced the Child and Youth Online Privacy Protection Act (the “Act”). The bill, which would amend the existing Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”), would prohibit companies from collecting personal information from children aged 13-15 without their consent.

The extended consent standard would apply when companies “reasonably know” that children are on their platforms. This constructive knowledge standard differs from the standard “actual knowledge” according to COPPA, according to which parental consent is only required if a website operator actually knows that children under the age of 13 are using the platform. In particular, the bill would require user consent if the user is between the ages of 13 and 15 (rather than parental consent, who is required to collect information from children under 13 under COPPA).

The bill contains a number of other provisions, including (1) a ban on targeted advertising to children; (2) certain notification requirements specific to the collection, use and disclosure of children’s personal information for website owners and manufacturers of connected devices; (3) cybersecurity requirements for Internet connected devices aimed at children; (4) Creation of an “eraser button” for parents and children, which obliges companies to allow users to delete the personal data of a child or adolescent, if this is technically feasible; and (5) Establish a youth marketing and privacy department at the FTC. For more information on the bill, see the press release from Senators Markey and Cassidy.

Read the full text of the invoice.

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