Senators Call on FTC to Investigate Ed Tech, Advertising Aimed at Children

A bipartisan group of Senators has urged the Federal Trade Commission to launch an investigation into children's data practices in the educational technology and digital advertising sectors. In a letter to the FTC, Senators Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said "The FTC should use its investigatory powers to better understand commercial entities that engage in online advertising to children—especially how those commercial entities are shifting their marketing strategies in response to the Coronavirus pandemic and increased screen time among children." In December 2019, EPIC submitted comments to the FTC on the agency's regulatory review of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rules. EPIC said the FTC should : (1) maintain the strong safeguards for children's data, (2) reject the "school official exception", (3) the FTC define the term "commercial purpose" and ensure that children's personal data collected in schools is not transferred to EdTech companies; and (4) the FTC require notification within forty-eight hours of a data breach of children's data by a company subject to COPPA.


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