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Rep. Wants Children’s Online Privacy Bill by Next Year

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.); Photo: markey.house.gov

Following an announcement by the Federal Trade Commission that it would consider limiting advertisers’ ability to track customers online, a Democratic lawmaker said he wants to create a “Do Not Track” option specifically for children.

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who Politico reports is one of the top online privacy advocates and chairs the House Privacy Caucus, said he expected to introduce the legislation, which would only prevent advertisers from targeting and tracking minors and having their personal information stored, according to a report on The Washington Post’s Post Tech blog.

“For many kids today, the Internet is like online oxygen – they can’t live without it,” Markey said at a House hearing on the issue of “Do Not Track” options, according to The Post. “But kids growing up in this online environment also need protection from dangers that can lurk in cyberspace,” he added.

While FTC and Markey have voiced strong support for a “Do Not Track” option, Post Tech reports that advertisers are giving the proposals the cold shoulder.

Many online marketers insist they are already implementing tools to shield online consumers from unwanted tracking, which would be more effective than a one-size-fits-all option, they contend.

However, the FTC report, which gave the green light to limiting online advertisers, said industry efforts to self-regulate, so far, have been “too slow, and up to now have failed to provide adequate and meaningful protection.”

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