Privacy Bill Essentials: Proposed Federal Children and Teens' Online Privacy Protection Act

May 20, 2021
Hinshaw Privacy & Cyber Bytes

In an effort to strengthen protections relating to the online collection, use, and disclosure of personal information of children and minors, U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana introduced the Children and Teens' Online Privacy Protection Act (the Act) on May 11, 2021. If signed into law, the bill would amend the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) by expanding protections to minors ages 13 to 15. The Act would revise COPPA's "actual knowledge" standard to a "constructive knowledge" standard, requiring operators to obtain consent when they reasonably should know that children and minors are using their services.

To whom would it apply?

What types of information would it cover?

Under the Act, the term "personal information" would be expanded to include:

What rights would it create?

The Act would create various consumer rights aimed at protecting children and minors, including:

What obligations would it impose?

How would it be enforced?

The FTC and state Attorneys General would enforce the Act. Violation of the Act would be treated as a violation of rules defining an unfair or deceptive act or practice under the Federal Trade Commission Act. A violation may result in civil penalties including damages, restitution, or other relief as a court may consider appropriate.

Further, the Act would establish a first-of-its-kind Youth Privacy and Marketing Division at the FTC, which will be responsible for addressing the privacy of children and minors and marketing directed at children and minors.

When would it go into effect?

If passed, provisions of the Act provide for different effective dates:

Where does it stand? 

This bill is in the first stage of the legislative process.