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    Washington Post: Children’s Internet Privacy Comes Into Congress’ View

    The Washington Post reports on discussion in the U.S. House concerning children’s online privacy protections:

    House lawmakers on Wednesday debated proposed updates to the Children’s Online Private Protection rules, the government’s first effort to tweak 12-year-old laws to better apply to the proliferation of new mobile devices and Internet applications being used by children.

    The House Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee debated recommendations by the Federal Trade Commission that Web firms be required to seek greater permissions from parents to collect information about children under the age of 13. […]

    The FTC has recommended rules that companies must first get parents’ permission to collect information on a child’s whereabouts, or geo-location — a practice widely used by Web giants Google, Facebook and other firms on mobile devices.

    The FTC also said Web sites should seek parental consent before tracking children online through cookies and other technologies for purposes outside the operations of the Web site. Parents would also have to give permission for the collection of photos and videos that identify a child, according to the FTC’s recommendation. […]

    Among legislative proposals, one by Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Tex.) would prevent the tracking of children online. But some companies have balked that the law requires an eraser button for children’s information that would be difficult to pull off technologically.

    Even as lawmakers, child privacy advocates and companies debated potential new rules, most agreed that the rush of children onto the Web presents anxieties for parents who find it difficult to navigate companies’ privacy and safety features.

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