Federal regulators are about to take the biggest steps in more than a decade to protect children online.Advances in technology? Facebook just asks kids to check a box saying that they are over 13. Maybe all kids under 18 should be allowed to friend their parents.
McDonald’s invites children who visit HappyMeal.com to upload their photos so they can make collages or videos.
The moves come at a time when major corporations, app developers and data miners appear to be collecting information about the online activities of millions of young Internet users without their parents’ awareness, children’s advocates say. Some sites and apps have also collected details like children’s photographs or locations of mobile devices; the concern is that the information could be used to identify or locate individual children. ....
The current federal rule, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, requires operators of children’s Web sites to obtain parental consent before they collect personal information like phone numbers or physical addresses from children under 13. But rapid advances in technology have overtaken the rules, privacy advocates say.
This whole privacy thing is a joke. A lot of people are secretive about their phone numbers, Social Security numbers, home addresses, credit card numbers, birth date, credit score, etc. But all of this info is collected by data companies and sold to marketing companies every day. Most people have a whole lot less privacy than they think they have.
You might think that you can find the public info on yourself by googling your name. You cannot. The good databases are not free. Cheap enough to be bought and sold for marketing purposes, but not free.
In the name of privacy, all 13-year-old girls get the right to free birth control pills under Obamacare, with no notification to parents. We had a voter initiative in California several years ago to require parental notification of abortion, and it was rejected. The initiative was just for parental notification, not consent. Kids still require parental consent for body piercings and tatoos.
When the FTC announces that it is protecting child privacy, it is really greenlighting some approved spying practices. Do you ever get a mailing with pages of fine print about how some bank or other company was revising its privacy. You can try to read those things, but it is useless. There is always some escape clause saying that they can sell your account info to affiliates, with no explanation of who those affiliates are.
The FTC is not going to protect your kids. Neither is anyone else. Not like parents. If they really wanted to protect kids, they would give parents more authority over them.