Lawmakers at the state level have advanced or passed multiple actions in the last couple of years relating to kids' privacy online, as the impact of social media and other online services on children continues to raise concerns. Regulators at the FTC also have taken action on kids' privacy, producing millions of dollars in fines for Big Tech.
Not to be left behind, the US Senate is now considering (again) ramping up the rules for collecting and using personal information from minors online.
Why It Matters
Children's privacy online has always been a hot topic; our only national privacy law for online services relates to children. That law restricts what companies can do online without parental consent to collect information from children under thirteen. In the past couple of years, though, we have seen a wide range of proposals that would expand the coverage of privacy laws to older children, or would restrict certain advertising practices or use of certain services by minors. Because online services are accessible to anyone with a connected device, it is likely that expansions to children's privacy laws may affect companies that don't consider themselves child-facing. Any company that knows it has online teenage users would do well to assess its privacy practices and make sure it understands whether any new state laws apply, or whether the federal law would cover them if passed.