Rep. Ed Markey: Protect Children’s Privacy Online via COPPA

Rep. Ed Markey has been a longstanding leader in Congress on children’s media issues, and was the original co-sponsor of the Children Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).  Here’s what he released yesterday to coincide with the Senate Commerce committee oversight hearing.


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and co-Chairman of the Bi-Partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus, issued the following statement on Senate Commerce Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance Subcommittee hearing on the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA):

“More than a decade ago, I joined with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and then Sen. Richard Bryan (D-Nev.) to enact the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act,” said Markey. “COPPA was a landmark piece of legislation that has contributed to the creation of a safer and healthier online environment for children.  It established a clear set of rules for marketers to follow and gave parents tools for overseeing how their children’s information was being collected and used online. It also helped to tame the digital ‘wild west’ of the information superhighway-where personal information was routinely collected from unsuspecting kids on the Internet.

“COPPA faces new challenges today.  The growth of broadband and the proliferation of mobile phones give marketers a new generation of powerful techniques for data collection and behavioral profiling.  I commend the Subcommittee for holding this important hearing on children’s privacy in the digital age.  I urge them to ensure that the Federal Trade Commission, as it reviews COPPA this year, makes necessary changes to its implementation that will permit the law to   remain an effective safeguard.

“We deliberately wrote COPPA to make it a “living” and flexible statute, so it could address new data collection and targeting practices that threatened to undermine children’s privacy as the Internet evolved.  I will work with the Senate and the FTC to ensure that COPPA continues to protect children in the expanding digital marketplace.”

Author: jeff

Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. A former journalist and filmmaker, Jeff's book on U.S. electronic media politics, entitled "Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy" was published by The New Press in January 2007. He is now working on a new book about interactive advertising and the public interest.