Center for American Progress Hosts Program on “Do Not Track” with Focus on Kids

Center for American Progress Hosts Program on “Do Not Track” with Focus on Kids

With a room filled to capacity this morning, the Center for American Progress hosted a special presentation entitled “Tracking: Where You Are, What You See, and What to Do.”  Neera Tanden, the Chief Operating Officer for Center for American Progress moderated the panel which featured a keynote by FTC Commissioner Julie Brill. Panelists included FPF co-chair Chris Wolf along with Professor Peter Swire  (Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress, and Professor of Law, Ohio State University), Ed Felten (Chief Technology Office, Federal Trade Commission), along with Jim Steyer (Founder and CEO, Common Sense Media).

Commissioner Brill, after describing the FTC’s ongoing examination of the privacy framework, focused on the five key elements the FTC is looking for a Do Not Track mechanism, including: (1) simple to find and use, (2) effective, (3) applicable across companies and technologies, (4) does more than just prevent consumers from receiving targeted online behavioral advertising, and (5) provides persistent choice.

Commissioner Brill cited the recent FPF survey showing that three quarters of most Apps lack a privacy policy, a situation she said needed great improvement.

The lively panel discussion included Ed Felten describing the progress being made by the browser companies in designing Do Not Track mechanisms into their products; a plea by Jim Steyer for a Do Not Track law focused on kids, which he described as an urgent need; an overview of the Do Not Track Kids bill introduced by Representatives Markey and Baron by Chris Wolf, including a synopsis of criticism of the bill from the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Direct Marketing Association and Libertarian Adam Theier, each of whom have focused on the First Amendment issues implicated by the bill because of its potential to limit even adult access to content because of the need to identify all users of  web sites to determine which are kids entitled to protection, and because of the impracticality of the “Erase Button” requirement in the bill.  Peter Swire discussed the potential technology could play in achieving some of the objectives of the Do Not Track Kids bill.  Questions from the audience including one mentioning how parental consent for teen access to online content could thwart legally protected teen access to reproductive health information.

A replay of today’s program is available here.

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