Skip to Content

Press Release

Rep. Castor Reintroduces Kids PRIVACY Act

Legislation would update COPPA with strong, up-to-date safeguards to keep kids safe online

Today, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) reintroduced her Protecting the Information of our Vulnerable Adolescents, Children and Youth Act, or the Kids PRIVACY Act, which would update the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act with safeguards to keep children and teenagers safe online and hold Big Tech companies who surveil and target children accountable. The bill includes strong provisions to build on COPPA's strengths and expand privacy protections for children and teenagers as well as directives to operators to make the best interests of children and teenagers a primary design consideration.

“Children are spending more time online than ever before, and it’s time that Congress address the evolving online landscape, especially the tracking and data gathering that has vastly outpaced online privacy protections for kids,” said Rep. Castor. “I’m proud to reintroduce my Kids PRIVACY Act, endorsed by parents, safety advocates and pediatricians to update COPPA, protect children online, and hold Big Tech accountable. Parents and families deserve a 21st century privacy law that can contend with a 21st century internet. Companies continue to knowingly target kids, and it is past time they are penalized for violating privacy protections. Let’s come to the table, Democrats and Republicans, to strengthen protections for our youngest neighbors and bring these safeguards into modern day.”

“The digital ecosystem’s shortcomings in meeting the developmental needs of young people have become impossible to ignore. Outdated data privacy protections for children and teens allow companies to monitor, track, and target young people with personalized experiences that exploit their developmental vulnerabilities for commercial gain. The Kids PRIVACY Act is a critical step forward in our efforts to make the online world safer for young people. Rep. Castor is a longtime champion for the well-being of children and teens online, and the American Academy of Pediatrics applauds her for introducing this important legislation,” said Sandy Chung, MD, FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics.

“Psychological scientists continue to learn about the potentially negative mental health implications for certain types of social media use among children,” said Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, CEO of the American Psychological Association. “Passing the Kids PRIVACY Act would be an important step in helping to protect children online from certain harmful effects of using social media,”.

 "Representative Castor’s Kids PRIVACY Act will create the privacy and safety by design frameworks that young people deserve. The bill will expand protections online to teens, ban targeted marketing to minors, and severely limit the amount of data used to profile and target children. It will also create critical assessment and transparency requirements to protect kids and teens from online harms such as physical, emotional, and financial harm.  Anyone who agrees that tech company profits shouldn't come at the expense of children's wellbeing should support this legislation," said Haley Hinkle, Policy Counsel, Fairplay.

"Common Sense Media applauds Rep. Castor for her continued efforts to protect children and teens online. Her bill would provide much-needed updates to the now 25-year-old Children's Online Privacy Protection Act by extending privacy protections to teens, prohibiting harmful practices like targeted advertising to all minors, and requiring companies to assess how their data processing activities may be detrimental to children and teens' well-being and safety. At Common Sense, we believe that data privacy is step number one to protect young people from the harms of social media and digital technology, and we thank Rep. Castor for championing kids' privacy issues and always making sure this important topic stays in the conversation before Congress and the American people,” said Irene Ly, Policy Counsel, Common Sense Media.

“Corporate surveillance practices have been able to proliferate unchecked. Children and teens need effective and strong safeguards to protect their privacy, to guard against manipulative practices that foster addiction-like behaviors, and to end discriminatory practices online. Rep. Castor’s “Kids PRIVACY Act” will enable regulators to keep young people safe and prevent them from being targeted with unfair marketing practices. It will ensure the best interest of children and teens online,” said Katharina Kopp, Director of Policy, Center for Digital Democracy.

The bill is supported by: Fairplay, Common Sense Media, Center for Digital Democracy, Network for Public Education, Media Alliance, Dr. Ellen Wartella, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Professor of Communication at Northwestern University, XR Safety Initiative, Woodrow Hartzog, Professor, of Law Boston University School of Law, Parent’s Television and Media Council, Consumer Federation of America, American Psychological Association, Stop Predatory Gambling & Campaign for Gambling-Free Kids, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Serge Egelman, Research Director of the Usable Security & Privacy Group at the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI) at University of California, Berkeley, Parent Coalition for Student Privacy, Accountable Tech, American Academy of Pediatrics, Electronic Privacy Information Center, the American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and The Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy, & Action.

The legislation specifically strengthens privacy protections for children and teenagers by:

  1. Banning Companies from Providing Targeted Advertisements to Children and Teenagers: Prohibits companies from targeting children and teenagers based on their personal information and behavior.
  2. Best Interests of Children and Teenagers: Requires an operator to make the best interests of children and teenagers a primary design consideration when designing its service.
  3. Requiring Opt-In Consent for all Individuals Under 18: Companies must obtain specific, informed, and unambiguous opt-in consent before collecting, retaining, selling, sharing, or using a young consumer or child’s personal information.
  4. Creating a Right to Access, Correct, and Delete Personal Information: Companies must provide individuals the opportunity to access, correct, or delete their personal information at any time.
  5. Protecting Additional Types of Information: Expands the type of information explicitly covered to include physical characteristics, biometric information, health information, education information, contents of messages and calls, browsing and search history, geolocation information, and latent audio or visual recordings.
  6. Requiring User-Friendly Privacy Policies: Companies must make publicly available privacy policies that are clear, easily understood, and written in plain and concise language.
  7. Creating a Protected Class of “Teenagers” Ages 13-17: For the first time in statute, the bill provides protection for teenagers 13-17, allowing them to control who collects their personal information and what companies can do with it.
  8. Expands Coverage of Companies: Applies to all sites likely to be accessed by children and teens, not just child-directed services.
  9. Limiting Disclosure to Third Parties: The bill prohibits companies from sharing personal information without consent. Furthermore, it creates additional duties companies must comply with before disclosing any personal information with third parties.
  10. Requiring Reasonable Data Security Policies, Practices, and Procedures: Requires companies to have a written security policy, point of contact for information security management and processes to identify, assess, and mitigate vulnerabilities.
  11. Prohibiting Industry Self-Regulation: Repeals dangerous safe harbor provision that allow for lax enforcement and rubberstamping of potentially unlawful practices.
  12. Strengthening FTC Enforcement: Raises the maximum allowable civil penalty per violation by 50 percent and allows the FTC to pursue punitive damages. Also establishes a Youth Privacy and Marketing Division at the FTC.
  13. Providing for Parental Enforcement: Parents will be able to bring civil actions to help enforce the bill and any resulting regulations.
  14. Banning Forced Arbitration: In a much-needed reversal of current law, companies will no longer be able force their consumers to waive their right to sue.