Congress Introduces Children’s List Protection Bill

Rep. Darlene Hooley (D-OR) on July 22 introduced the Children’s Listbroker Privacy Act (H.R. 4955), which would prohibit list firms from selling the personal information of children under the age of 16 without parental consent. Data are “commonly available on children as young as two years old, enabling marketers to target specific demographics such as junior high school, elementary school, or even preschool,” the bill states.

Several federal statutes, including section 1061 of the No Child Left Behind Act, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, and the Family and Educational Rights and Privacy Act, already restrict the collection and disclosure of information about children or students under specified circumstances. But “when data on children is collected in a manner that is outside the scope of those statutes,” the bill says, “federal law does not significantly restrict the commercial sale or resale of such data,” enabling list brokers and other data providers to package and sell or rent out information on children easily enough.

As did the March 2004 bill (S. 2160) by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) did, the Hooley bill seeks not only parental consent for any information to be transacted about children but also certification that any information on children possessed by marketers wouldn’t be used “for marketing that child,” it states.

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