Rush, Walberg Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Children’s Online Privacy

Jan 9, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representatives Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) and Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) today introduced the Preventing Real Online Threats Endangering Children Today (PROTECT) Kids Act.  This bipartisan legislation modernizes the Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) to better protect our nation’s children from the myriad of threats posed by an ever-evolving digital landscape.

“In the past, predators and perpetrators sought to harm our children by lurking near schoolyards and playgrounds, but now — due to incredible advancements in technology — they are able to stalk our children through their mobile devices and in video game lobbies.  In the face of this new threat to our nation’s youth, I am proud to work with Rep. Walberg to introduce the PROTECT Kids Act, which will not only do as its name suggest and protect children across the country from online threats, but it will also provide parents with the peace of mind that their sons and daughters are safer when accessing websites and mobile applications.

“I am also pleased that we were able to reach a reasonable, common-sense, and bipartisan agreement that will require the FTC to assess the appropriate knowledge standard to best protect our nation’s children,” said Rep. Rush.

“Children today are more connected online and face dangers that we could not have imagined years ago,” said Rep. Walberg.  “While advancements in technology allows for many benefits, it also poses a risk for our kids.  I am proud to work with Rep. Rush to update our digital privacy laws to safeguard our children and their personal data online.”

Enacted by Congress in 1998, COPPA requires the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce regulations on children’s online privacy.  Two decades later, technology has developed to the point where updates to COPPA are necessary to strengthen kids’ digital safety.

About the PROTECT Kids Act:

  • Raises the age of parental consent protections from children under the age of 13 to children under the age of 16;
  • Adds precise geolocation information and biometric information as two new categories of personal information which are protected under COPPA;
  • Affirms that rules under COPPA also include protections to children on mobile applications in addition to already existing rules for websites and online services;
  • Provides parents the ability to delete any personal information about their child, a feature never before afforded to parents under COPPA to protect their children; and
  • Requires the FTC to conduct a study on the knowledge standard found in COPPA and report recommendations to Congress.