Review of Current Bills in Congress



Children’s Online Privacy Act (2019) (S748/HR3900) COPPA 2.0
  1. Expands coverage to include young teens (ages 13-15)
  2. Strengthens protection for children below 13
  3. Requires a mechanism to “erase” a minor’s online personal information
  4. Requires stronger cyber-security standards for internet-connected devices designed for children
  5. Authorizes state attorneys general to bring civil actions for violations


What is missing?
  1. It assumes 13-year-olds are fully competent to operate on all aspects of the Internet without adult supervision. Science has proven they are vulnerable because the critical thinking portion of their brains is still developing.
  2. It only concerns the collection and use of children/minor’s data, not what information and people they are exposed to, I.e. Pornography, pedophiles and traffickers.
  3. Defining anyone under sixteen as a minor might become a precedent for moving the legal definition of minor from eighteen to sixteen which in turn, would affect all domestic minor sex trafficking laws.


Suggestion

The existing system of ID-to-selfie verification should be used to establish that users requesting accounts on certain adult-oriented websites are 18 or older. This would include but not be limited to pornography and dating websites.

HRES.721.App Rating Board

 (1) calls on technology and app development companies to establish an app rating board, comprised of industry representatives and child development, child protection, and internet safety subject matter experts to—
(A) establish new criteria for what content and in-app risks result in specified age-appropriate app ratings;
(B) review app ratings and descriptions of the most-downloaded apps; and
(C) impose sanctions for noncompliance; and
(2) calls on technology companies to—
(A) manufacture internet-ready devices, including iPhones, Android devices, and Chromebooks, with user-friendly parental controls;
(B) close loopholes that permit the bypassing of parental controls;
(C) build in age-based, default safety settings; and
(D) provide selective app shutoff for bedtime and school hours.

What’s good?
A. Age-based safety settings suggest a means to know the age of the user, perhaps established when they buy the device.

What’s missing?
A. It’s based on parental controls that limit protection to tech-savvy and concerned parents.
B. Self-regulation which big tech has proven, doesn’t work. The gaming apps review board hasn’t prevented gross porn in apps like Grand Theft Auto, which gives extra points for killing the prostitute after sex.

Suggestion

Strengthen the wording of age-based default safety. Establishing age and blocking apps based on age as a default would be a real improvement.