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FTC proposes stricter Net access rules for children under 13 (Wired)

"The Federal Trade Commission proposed Thursday to revamp its online
child privacy rules to reflect the ubiquity of smartphones and
geolocation services. The proposed updates (.pdf) to the Children's
Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 were welcomed by many in the
privacy community. They see the new proposal as a means to combat
behavioral advertising targeting America's youth. By contrast,
Facebook, Microsoft, the Entertainment Software Association, the Toy
Industry Association and others are arguing for self-regulation when
it comes to targeted, online behavioral advertising."

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At least the FTC is explicitly not proposing that Congress require sites
that don't cater to children to collect age-related identity information.
On the other hand, some of the verification techniques being proposed
seem intrusive, others seem -- well -- rather weird. In particular,
finding someone to be "your parent" for a video-conference check probably
won't be a stretch for the average intelligent kid: ("Yep! That's my Bobby!" [Picasa])

This is not to suggest that I'm unsympathetic to concerns of parents
and their children's Internet use. But I discern some potential
"slippery slopes" in various of these proposals, of significant
concern relating ultimately to adults' use of the Net, and I believe
that some of these proposals will be mainly effective at scoring
political points.

-- Lauren --
Lauren Weinstein's profile photopaul mplr's profile photoBrian Clapper's profile photoAllen Gould's profile photo
'The Corbomite Maneuver', did you intentionally choose that one because the image of the alien was not the actual alien or was that a coincidence?
As the parent of a soon-to-be 11-year-old, I'm not all that sympathetic, myself. We are about to buy our daughter her first computer, for her upcoming birthday. If necessary, I will install (or build) appropriate filtering tools, but the more important task is for us to continue to monitor her use of the computer and the Internet. Not to do so would be parentally negligent, in my opinion. Relying on the government to force businesses to keep my child's best interests in mind seems foolish. The government has too many layers of competing interests and pressures, from political pressures and business pressures to competing morality pressures from various "interested" parties; it is unreasonable to assume that consistent policies or enforcement can possibly result. Moreover, one-size-fits-all rules rarely work for adults; I doubt they'll work for children.

Protecting and guiding the growth and development of a child is best left in the hands of his or her parents. The government can help set some simple, clear policies for online commerce, but, ultimately, Mom and Dad know where the off switch is.
I'm kinda in favor of limits on behaviorally targeted advertising, because I've seen how shilling can damage kids' experience of kid-targeted sites. Sure, there's an off switch, but in the real world most of us are pretty comfortable with the idea that there are some things you don't market to kids, and some marketing methods you don't use.
Agreed, hence my comment on basic rules of commerce. Emphasis on basic.
+Brian Clapper Rather than trusting software, I have a simpler solution - my daughter's computer is directly in front of mine. I move my head three inches and I can clearly see what she's up to. (She's younger than yours, so I haven't had to tackle the rebellion aspects yet).

But as a former child myself, I know that there isn't a computer filter yet that's a match for a determined kid. ;)
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