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Barton, Markey Release Draft of ‘Do Not Track’ Bill for Kids

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WASHINGTON, May 9, 2011 - Reps. Joe Barton (R-TX) and Ed Markey (D-MD) released a discussion draft of to-be-introduced legislation that would update the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act to reflect changes in current technology.

The Do Not Track Kids Act of 2011 would make several changes to the existing law, which dates back to 1998.  Since then, says Rep. Barton, the Internet landscape has changed dramatically.

“The Internet has transformed into an invaluable educational, research and entertainment tool, but with the good comes the bad," said Barton. “We have reached a troubling point in the state of business when companies that conduct business online are so eager to make a buck, they resort to targeting our children. I strongly believe that information should not be collected on children and used for commercial purposes.

The proposed legislation would make stronger the disclosures required by companies about what sort of information they collect, require parental consent before collecting minors' personal information, and prohibit the use of information that is collected for marketing purposes.  Additionally, the measure would create “Digital Marketing Bill of Rights for Teens” and require companies, where feasible, to erase collected minors' data upon request by parents.

The legislation would also bring the current law into the mobile age by addressing not only personal information, but geolocation data as well.  Rep. Markey recently called on Congress to address media reports that Apple and Android phones track users personal location data, sometimes for months.

“For millions of kids today, the Internet is their new 21st century playground – they learn, play, and connect with others every day,” said Markey. “The Internet presents a wide array of opportunities to communicate and access entertainment that were unimaginable only a few years ago. But kids growing up in this online environment also need protection from the dangers that can lurk in cyberspace."


A copy of the Do Not Track Kids Act of 2011 discussion draft is available here.

Jonathan began his career as a journalist before turning his focus to law and policy. He is an attorney licensed in Texas and the District of Columbia and has worked previously as a political reporter, in political campaign communications and on Capitol Hill. He holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Washington and a J.D. from Villanova Law School, where he focused his studies on Internet and intellectual property law and policy. He lives in Washington, D.C., where he roots for Seattle sports teams and plays guitar in his free time.

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