For several years, Democrats and Republicans have worked to reform COPPA, both in Congress and at the state level.
Recently, Me2BA alongside a coalition of advocacy groups endorsed Representative Castor’s Kids PRIVCY ACT, which is the ongoing effort in the House to reform COPPA.
We’re proud to support a bill that will:
- Strengthen the legal protections afforded to children under COPPA, and extend COPPA protections to adolescents ages 13 to 17, who have long gone without privacy protections online, while creating new rights for families.
- Prohibit surveillance advertising and other harmful uses of data on all digital services likely to be accessed by children, rather than limiting protection to ineffectual notice and consent on “child-directed sites.”
Note our recent research on behavioral advertising in K12 school utility apps, which raises deep questions about corporate data mining of kids for profit.
- Incorporate key elements of the UK’s groundbreaking Age-Appropriate Design Code, requiring companies to consider the best interests of young people when designing their platforms, and to conduct risk assessments to determine potential harms to children and teens.
However, Me2BA does not support the long-standing non-profit carve outs in data privacy laws.
We urge members of congress to follow GDPR’s lead and draft legislation that does not include data broker loopholes for non-profit organizations. Note that the Kids PRIVCY Act was not attempting to establish a new carve out, but it fails to close existing non-profit carve outs by adopting a prior definition of covered entity that essentially exempts most non-profits under the broad exemptions under Sections 4 and 5 of the FTC Act.
Policymakers should acknowledge that if they continue to allow non-profit carve outs, they are not solving the actual issue at hand. Would it be just to allow non-profit data brokers to get a free pass? Many political non-profit data brokers are known to purposefully attempt to create nationwide voter files– are they exempt under the current carve outs?
We understand that reforming COPPA and the FTC Act to ensure that non-profit data brokers operate under the same rules as for-profit data brokers will not be an easy feat, yet we remain hopeful that policymakers will address non-profit carve outs in data privacy laws. We will continue to advocate for the safe and respectful treatment of people by technology.
As Me2BA grows, we anticipate that we will be asked to participate in more advocacy campaigns and letters. We take this seriously and value transparency. Accordingly, our Policy and Legal Working Group is creating a checklist to standardize our approval process for sign-on letters. What do you think should be on our advocacy endorsement checklist? Send us your suggestions at email@example.com.