Hearing of the Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee - "Protecting Children's Privacy in an Electronic World"

Statement

By:  Ed Markey
Date: Oct. 5, 2011
Location: Unknown

"I thank the Gentle Lady from California for granting my request and for holding this important hearing today on children's privacy in an online world.

"I am the House author of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, which Congress passed and President Clinton signed into law in 1998.

"COPPA is the communications constitution when it comes to protecting kids online, but we need to update it to take into account the explosive growth and innovation in the online ecosystem over the last 13 years.

"I commend the Federal Trade Commission for its thoughtful and comprehensive review and for its proposed changes to the COPPA rule, which reflect and reinforce many of the same safeguards contained in the Do Not Track Kids Act that I introduced this past May with Representative Joe Barton.

"As in our bill, the Commission appropriately notes that teens should be provided with clear information about how their personal data is used and also empowered to exercise control over these uses.

"As in our bill, the Commission also proposes to add a child's location information under the category of personal data that require a parent's permission before it's collected or used. Given the potential for this sensitive data to be misused to endanger a child, the Commission's proposal in this area is a much-needed step.

"I commend the Commission for rejecting arguments that voluntary, self-regulatory efforts are the best way to address privacy concerns in connection with behavioral targeting of children online. Strong legal requirements along with vigilant enforcement are needed to protect children from tracking and targeting on the Internet.

"Children should be able to grow up in an "electronic oasis' that enables access to online education, communication and entertainment opportunities in a safe environment.

"I look forward to working with my colleagues on the bipartisan "Do Not Track Kids Act' to strengthen privacy safeguards and ensure that kids and teens are protected when they go online."