Media Alert – Asking High-Tech Industries to Act Responsibly

The high-tech industry is pushing back against federal regulations aimed at protecting children’s privacy online.

The Federal Trade Commission already requires website operators to get parental consent before releasing personal information about children younger than 13. The FTC wants to update the 14-year-old Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act to include social media platforms and new mobile devices, columnist Mary Sanchez wrote recently in The Kansas City Star.

Mega-sized companies such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Apple say the tangled nature of the web makes the updated regulations onerous. Users often offer links to videos or photos from another website, so which site is legally responsible for notifying parents?

Child advocates maintain that protecting children’s privacy from the Internet’s information-gathering powers is too important to dismiss – particularly when the stakes are so high, Sanchez wrote. These companies are making billions in profits. They can afford spending some of that excess cash to keep children safe.

“Asking the media to act responsibly to protect identity makes for a better world,” said John Caputo, director of the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media, a media literacy advocacy group in partnership with Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash.

“Surely in this case, the health and welfare of children should outweigh corporate profits and the shield of the First Amendment.”

 The full text of the column from The Kansas City Star can be found here:

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