Coalition Seeks Teen-Targeted Privacy Protections

Growing online marketplace subjects teens to data collection, behavioral profiling
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More than a dozen privacy and child advocacy groups are asking the Obama administration to include teenagers in whatever policy recommendations it makes in a white paper to be released by year’s end. That is one of two key recommendations the groups made to the White House, and Justice and Commerce departments.

The groups, which include the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), Consumer Federation of America, Children Now, Benton Foundation and the American Academy of Pediatrics, said they want the administration to recommend passage of new legislation that “protects adolescent privacy.” The letter follows up a meeting they had last month with members of the subcommittee.

“Teenagers are key targets in a rapidly growing online marketplace that subjects them to increasing amounts of data collection, behavioral profiling and manipulative techniques,” the groups wrote. “Because the needs and capacities of young people are distinctly different from those of adults, we call on the Interagency Subcommittee and the White House to incorporate into the forthcoming white paper a policy framework that addresses the privacy concerns of both children and adolescents.”

There is already a law protecting the online privacy of kids 13 and under, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. But the groups say that rather than trying to apply the parental consent mechanism in COPPA to teens, new legislation should be crafted to provide a separate set of practices aimed at marketers to teens. They suggest it require an opt-in regime for their data collection so teens will not be “subjected to behavioral profiling and tracking” without their “informed, prior consent.”

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