It?s time to bring COPPA (Children?s Online Privacy Protection Act) up to date. That was the consensus at a DC panel Mon hosted by The Center for American Progress, with Common Sense Media CEO Jim Streyer complaining that the legislation was written in ?98, ?the Stone Age in terms of technology.? ?

?Reps Ed Markey (D-MA) and Joe Barton (R-TX) have introduced The Do Not Track Kids Act of 2011, which would amend COPPA and prohibit companies from using children?s and teen?s personal information for targeted marketing purposes, establish a digital marketing bills of rights that limits data collection on children and teens including geolocation and implement an eraser button that would allow parents to eliminate children?s personal information previously posted online.

??I think we need new legislation,? said Streyer ?And it will not be exactly the legislation that Ed Markey and Joe Barton introduced on May 13th?but I believe that there should be new legislation that tries to balance the best interest of kids? with the important industry imperatives that are involved and the economic issues that are involved.?

?Co-panelist Chris Wolf, partner at Hogan Lovells and co-dir of Future of Privacy Forum, raised some fundamental issues with such legislation. ?Congress just can?t continue to pass laws like CDA and COPA [Children’s Online Protection Act] and the Do Not Track Kids law just oblivious to the First Amendment issues,? Wolf said. For example, recently, a bill was almost passed in Maine that would have cut off communications from colleges to students and thereby impeded on free speech, he said. Instead, ?we really do have to think about what role technology and education can play.?

?FTC commish Julie Brill used her keynote speech to highlight the agency?s most-talked about recommendation, Do Not Track mechanisms that would apply to everyone. An FTC majority, including Brill, is on board with Do Not Track. The FTC believes they must be simple and apply across companies and technologies. They also should do more than just prevent targeted advertising (ie, they must give consumers the opportunity to stop data collection) and online users shouldn?t have to reset their preferences every time they clear their cookies or close their browsers.

?Brill acknowledged that the privacy policy ?notice and choice? model isn?t working. ?It is not reasonable to expect consumers to read and understand privacy policies?most about as long and as clear as the Code of Hammurabi?especially when all that stands between them and buying a new flat-screen TV, or playing the latest version of Angry Birds, is clicking the little box that says, ?I consent,?? Brill said.

?She noted that the industry is working on developing Do Not Track mechanisms.

??Businesses are finally getting it?that privacy is good for business,? said?Wolf. Hopefully, ?businesses recognize that privacy is good for business and will build in the kinds of protection we?re talking about.?

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