Rep. Markey to Propose Bill to Curb Online Tracking of Children

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Legislation set to be introduced early next year would prohibit companies from tracking children on the Internet without parental consent.

Massachusetts Rep. Edward Markey, a Democrat, plans to propose legislation that, if passed, would go well beyond current federal law that requires websites aimed at children under 13 to obtain parental permission before collecting personal information such as kids’ names or email addresses.

“For many kids today, the Internet is like online oxygen,” says Rep. Markey. “To ensure that kids are protected, I plan to introduce legislation next year that will include a ‘Do Not Track’ requirement so that kids do not have their online behavior tracked or their personal information collected or profiled. I look forward to working with my colleagues to move this legislation forward.”

The plan by Mr. Markey is part of a swirl of recent activity on the Internet privacy front. He is expected to discuss his proposal at a House hearing Thursday on the feasibility of establishing a simple way for consumers to prevent data companies from monitoring their online activities. On Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission called for the development of a do-not-track system.

Details of Mr. Markey’s bill—whose prospects remain unclear—are still being worked out, including whether it would apply to teenagers.

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