Today, TechFreedom wrote to members of Congress expressing our concerns about reports that Congress may include the Children and Teens’ Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA 2.0) in an end-of-session omnibus spending bill. 

COPPA works without threatening the First Amendment or the usefulness of the Internet for adults because it is limited to young children—and therefore only impacts a small segment of online services. But its framework is simply unworkable as applied to older teens, who have overlapping interest with, and use many of the same websites and online services as, adults. 

As drafted, COPPA 2.0 would create broad obligations for a large segment of the Internet that is used by both adults and teens—without doing much to actually protect teens’ privacy. Such obligations, if they are to apply to large numbers of sites used by adults, should be addressed in comprehensive privacy legislation such as the ADPPA—not in a bill that purports to apply a privacy framework based on a 1998 statute only to a small number of sites.

Additionally, COPPA 2.0’s definition of targeted advertising advantages huge national corporations at the expense of small, “Main Street” businesses. By excluding using data that poses little privacy risk, such as general location, small businesses will find their advertising budget spent on inefficient, irrelevant advertising, while corporations with nationwide footprint benefit from plastering services with generic advertising that they can more easily afford.