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A 'Clean Slate for Kids': Senators Call for Privacy for Pre-Teens


Lawmakers are looking for ways to help young people get a second chance in the digital world.

The Clean Slate for Kids Online Act was introduced this week by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass).

The purpose of the act is to require social media hubs to erase any data they collected before the user turned 13 years old. In a statement by Durbin, the act would “strengthen online privacy protections for children when websites collect their personally identifiable information.”

Durbin says he wants to protect kids because “In today’s era of ‘big data,’ kids are using the internet every day without fully understanding the consequences of every click.”

Pointing to the questionable practices of social media giants like Facebook Messenger Kids and YouTube Kids which advertise to the preteen market, supporters of the measure feel it’s time to protect our kids from data miners.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Durbin told reporters “They may collect their name, their address, they may even have access to a Social Security number that they give up, their geolocations, their voice, their face, and God knows what else. And all that information becomes part of a big file on a little kid."

Kid’s advocacy groups like the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood think this is a move in the right direction when it comes to protecting the privacy of kids.

The group says it “educates the public about commercialism's impact on kids' wellbeing and advocates for the end of child-targeted marketing.”

Josh Golin, the executive director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, adds “The Clean Slate for Kids Online Act of 2018 will empower teens and their parents to delete any and all information that was collected from them before they were 13. It will also enshrine an important principle: the data collected from children online belongs not to website operators or marketers, but to the kids themselves.”

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