Protecting Kids’ Privacy with a National Data Privacy and Security Standard

Energy and Commerce is leading on a federal data privacy and security law that strengthens Americans’ data protections and establishes the strongest safeguards for kids’ online data. As Chair Rodgers said in the latest hearing in our privacy series, a national standard is a foundational piece of protecting children online.  

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Our framework protects kids online and makes it tougher for their data to land in the hands of Big Tech and data brokers by: 

  • Minimizing the data that is collected and retained on all Americans, including children
  • Making it illegal to target advertising to children under 17 years old
  • Treating all data on children under 17 as sensitive, meaning more robust protections for the collection and transfer of their personal information
  • Requiring Big Tech to assess for how their algorithms harm children

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BIG PICTURE: Big Tech is manipulating, exploiting, and monetizing children.  

Big Tech companies are collecting a stunning amount of data on everyone, including children—from physical and mental health, to their location, what they are buying, and what they are eating. To profit off children, these companies are using this data to build algorithms to keep kids hooked on their platforms. 

These algorithms subject children to dangerous content and targeted advertisements that can lead to dangerous and life-threatening behaviors, like eating disorders and self-harm. The collection, retention, and sale of children’s data also exposes them to criminals, like drug dealers and sex traffickers, who have exploited features on these platforms—such as location sharing—to target children. 

WHY IT MATTERS: Big Tech and data brokers are profiting from and manipulating children for nearly their entire adolescent lives. Half of American teens use the internet “almost constantly” and most kids have their own smartphones by age 11. The more time children spend on their screens, the more companies are able to collect, retain, share, and use data to build profiles on them. Teens and young adults who spend more time using social media report lower psychological well-being, lower life satisfaction, less happiness, more feelings of loneliness and isolation, and more depression. 

The best and strongest way to ensure kids are safe online and prevent Big Tech from manipulating them is with a comprehensive national data privacy and security law. 

DON’T MISS: Parents whose children have been harmed by Big Tech are raising the alarm to E&C. They’re calling on Congress to act so other parents don’t experience their pain. READ MORE. 

In addition, child privacy protection advocates agree a national standard is a key way to protect kids online. 

"ADPPA... provides the strongest possible safeguards for the online data of kids and teens. Establishing strong data privacy protections is a critical step toward making today's internet healthier and safer for young users... the kids' protections in [ADPPA]… are stronger than current federal law, stronger than California law, and stronger than when the bill was first introduced.” Common Sense Media 

ADPPA stands for the American Data Privacy and Protection Act, which passed the Energy and Commerce Committee last Congress with an overwhelming bipartisan vote. Committee members have participated in six data privacy hearings already this year and will be considering an updated data privacy and security standard. 


WATCH Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) tell Big Tech CEOs that their platforms are her biggest fear as a parent. 

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CLICK HERE for more on why privacy experts are saying America needs a national data privacy standard.