Facebook won’t like this new teenager privacy bill

facebook do not track kids act teen computer

Should Internet companies have the right to track and analyze the Web activity of kids under 16 years old?

That’s the question posed by a newly introduced bill called the “Do Not Track Kids Act of 2013,” which would extend federal anti-tracking protections under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which only applies to kids 12 and under, to children ages 13 to 15. The bill would also create an “eraser button” that allows teens and parents to delete publicly available personal information when “technologically feasible.”

The Do Not Track Kids Act was introduced to Congress this week by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX). If passed, the bill would require parental consent before using data of kids 15 and under to serve advertisements; and mandate that companies explain how that information is collected, and how it may be used.

“We must not allow the era of big data to become a big danger for children on the Internet in the 21st century,” Markey said in a statement. “It is time for Congress to take action to ensure that children and teens are fully protected when they go online and parents have the tools they need to protect their kids.”

Following the introduction of the bipartisan bill, Facebook amended its privacy policy on Friday to exclude a line that critics believed gave the social network the ability to collect more personal information about children. Facebook denies that interpretation, but says that it deleted the sentence to avoid confusion.

“This language was about getting a conversation started,” Facebook wrote in a blog post. “We were not seeking and would not have gained any additional rights as a result of this addition. We received feedback, though, that the language was confusing and so we removed the sentence.”

In a follow-up statement released Friday, Markey reiterated claims that Facebook poses a threat to the privacy of children.

The speed with which Facebook is pushing teens to share their sensitive, personal information widely and publicly online must spur Congress to act commensurately to put strong privacy protections on the books for teens and parents,” he said.

Other changes to Facebook’s privacy policy include updates that better explain how users’ profile photos, Likes, and other information may be used in advertisements shown to friends.

[Image via ASchindl/Shutterstock]

Social Media

3D Facebook photos jump out of the newsfeed, no glasses needed

You're not seeing things -- that photo in your Facebook newsfeed is 3D. Launching today, 3D Facebook Photos use the depth maps from dual-lens smartphones to add dimension to an image as you move your phone.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (October 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this summer with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Castle Rock'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we've put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix in October, from 'Mindhunter’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Social Media

Instagram is testing a new way for you to look through your feed

Instagram is constantly tweaking its app to help give its users the best experience possible, so how do you like the sound of tapping — instead of swiping — to look through your feed?
Computing

Was your Facebook account hacked in the latest breach? Here’s how to find out

Facebook now reports that its latest data breach affected only 30 million users, down from an initial estimate of 50 million accounts. You can also find out if hackers had accessed your account by visiting a dedicated portal.
Mobile

Hinge's new feature wants to know who you've gone out on dates with

With its new "We Met" feature, Hinge wants to learn how your dates are going with matches in its app. That way, it can inject the information into its algorithm to provide future recommendations that better suit its users' preferences.
Social Media

Like a pocketable personal stylist, Pinterest overhauls shopping tools

Pinterest shopping just got a bit better with a trio of updates now rolling out to Pinterest. The first replaces Buyable Pins with Product Pins for more features, including knowing whether or not a product is in stock.
Smart Home

Facebook’s new Portal device can collect your data to target your ads

Facebook confirmed that its new Portal smart displays, designed to enable Messenger-enabled video calls, technically have the capability to gather data on users via the camera and mic onboard.
Social Media

YouTube is back after crashing for users around the world

It's rare to see YouTube suffer serious issues, but the site went down around the world for a period of time on October 16. It's back now, and we can confirm it's loading normally on desktop and mobile.
Social Media

Twitter has sorted out those weird notifications it was sending

Twitter started churning out weird notifications of seemingly nonsensical letters and numbers to many of its users on Tuesday morning. The bizarre incident even prompted Twitter boss Jack Dorsey to get involved.
Photography

Adobe MAX 2018: What it is, why it matters, and what to expect

Each year, Adobe uses its Adobe MAX conference to show off its latest apps, technologies, and tools to help simplify and improve the workflow of creatives the world over. Here's what you should expect from this year's conference.
Home Theater

Facebook might be planning a streaming box for your TV that watches you back

Facebook is reportedly working on a piece of streaming media hardware for your living room with a built-in camera for video calls, something people may not want given the company's recent controversies.