Podcast: Could expanding privacy law harm children?

A report explores how some states want to expand the Children Online Privacy Protection act from under 13 to under 18. Co-author Adam Thierer says such laws could have negative consequences.

A new report from the Progress & Freedom Foundation says that officials in some states want to pass legislation that would extend the Children Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) from covering children under 13 to covering teens until they're 18.

COPPA, which became law in 1998, requires verifiable parental consent before a child under 13 can provide personally identifiable information to a Web site that caters to children. Expanding the law to cover teens till they're 18, according to the report, would "require Web sites to obtain more information about both minors and their parents, which runs counter to the original goal of the Act: protecting the privacy of minors." Ultimately, say the authors, "this would actually make minors less 'safe online.'"

In this podcast, the report's co-author, PFF Senior Fellow Adam Thierer, explains the original COPPA law and why, in his opinion, the expanded law could have a chilling effect on the free speech rights of minors.

The podcast runs 11:30


About the author

Larry Magid is a technology journalist and an Internet safety advocate. He's been writing and speaking about Internet safety since he wrote Internet safety guide "Child Safety on the Information Highway" in 1994. He is co-director of ConnectSafely.org, founder of SafeKids.com and SafeTeens.com, and a board member of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Larry's technology analysis and commentary can be heard on CBS News and CBS affiliates, and read on CBSNews.com. He also writes a personal-tech column for the San Jose Mercury News. You can e-mail Larry.


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