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Do Not Track Kids
By: Jessica Cherok
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The House and Senate are looking into new legislation, Do Not Track Kids, that would extend children’s online privacy protections to kids ages 13–15. Considering how inept this age group generally is at forethought, better protections are desperately needed.

The legislation, which would amend the current Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), seeks to include children from 13–15 years old. Now, COPPA only protects the online activities of children up to the age of 13, after which they are considered Internet adults.

It’s easy to see the shortcomings of COPPA — 13-, 14-, and 15-year olds are hardly adults. Frankly, some adults shouldn’t be trusted with adult decisions. Do Not Track Kids would prohibit websites from collecting information on any person under the age of 16 without the user’s consent. Companies who allowed kids and early teens to use their sites would have to implement certain safeguards in order to protect the collection, use, and disclosure of children’s personal information.

In addition to prohibiting the collection of personal information, the companies and services must also offer an “erase button,” thereby allowing the deletion of all publicly available content. The erase button is similar to a feature recently proposed in California legislation, which protected minors up to the age of 18.

For more information about the bill, check out this overview.

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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