New Federal Bill to Protect Kids’ Privacy: Will This One Break Through?

| 9 min

Last October, we blogged that bipartisan momentum was building in Congress to enact stronger privacy protections for children, even if (and especially if) Congress remains stalled on broader federal privacy legislation. Of particular significance, we noted a strong push to protect, not just kids under 13 (the cutoff under COPPA), but also teens.

Since then, the momentum to enact stronger privacy protections for kids and teens has only increased, fueled by charges that social media and algorithms are causing self-harm and addictive behaviors by minors; multiple rounds of testimony from a former social media insider; and the desire in Congress to find common ground on some aspect of consumer privacy. Several kid/teen bills have been proposed in just the last couple months.

The latest of these bills, introduced last week by Senators Blumenthal and Blackburn, has drawn a lot of attention – both because it’s bipartisan, and because these two Senators lead a key Senate subcommittee and held multiple hearings on algorithmic harms to teens. The bill (the Kids Online Safety Act or KOSA”) has been endorsed by a number of organizations that focus on protecting kids’ safety and mental health. It also has drawn praise from Senator Cantwell, Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, who told at least one media outlet that she is considering a committee markup on the bill.