Jan 9, 2020

Lawmakers offer bipartisan update to children's online privacy law

Reps. Bobby Rush (L) and Tim Walberg. Photos: Alex Wong/Getty Images; Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call.

House lawmakers are introducing a bipartisan bill Thursday to update a long-standing children's online privacy law so that parents could force companies to delete personal information collected about their kids.

Driving the news: The "Preventing Real Online Threats Endangering Children Today Act" is sponsored by Republican Rep. Tim Walberg of Michigan and Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois.

  • The legislation would also require parental consent before companies can collect personal data like names, addresses and selfies from children under 16 years old. That's up from 13 years old under the 1998 Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.
  • And it would add precise geolocation and biometric information as new categories of personal information to be protected.

The big picture: There's a broad effort underway to modernize COPPA, which requires the Federal Trade Commission to enforce regulations surrounding the use of children's data online.

  • The FTC launched a review of COPPA last year to consider potential updates.
  • Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced legislation in March to add privacy protections for children under 16 and ban targeted ads to kids.
  • YouTube rolled out changes this month limiting data collection and advertising on children's videos after a $170 million settlement to resolve an FTC investigation into alleged COPPA violations.
  • TikTok also had to pay a multimillion-dollar FTC fine last year to settle claims that Musical.ly (a karaoke app that was acquired and integrated by TikTok's parent company in 2017) illegally collected personal data from children.

Go deeper

Democrat adds another proposal to update kids' privacy law

Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call.

A House Democrat on Thursday introduced a bill that would let parents sue companies that violate their kids' digital privacy, marking the latest of several attempts in Congress to update laws protecting children's privacy on the internet.

Why it matters: Both chambers want to include children's privacy protections in a comprehensive federal privacy law, but if that effort fails, a more narrow update to the 1998 Children's Online Privacy Protection Act could advance on its own.

Go deeperArrowJan 30, 2020

What to expect on tech legislation in 2020

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Bipartisan bills to protect kids online, promote and secure new technologies like 5G and autonomous vehicles, and restrain tech giants' power are a real possibility in 2020 — despite a presidential election and impeachment proceedings preoccupying Washington.

The big picture: Sweeping legislation will still struggle to gain traction, but narrower measures on issues like privacy and antitrust could help lawmakers show they can work across a bitter political divide.

Go deeperArrowJan 28, 2020

SuperAwesome raises $17 million round led by Microsoft's M12 Ventures

SuperAwesome CEO and founder Dylan Collins. Photo: SuperAwesome

SuperAwesome, a platform used to power kid-safe technology, has raised $17 million in a strategic financing round led by M12, Microsoft's venture fund.

Why it matters: It represents a growing investment in kid-safe content and kids privacy compliant technology. Microsoft is one of the first major U.S. tech firms to take a stake in a kids tech company.

Go deeperArrowJan 27, 2020