Browse all articles

Kids Action Urges FCC to Protect Young People's Privacy

We want stronger protections for all broadband subscribers but also for our most vulnerable users, kids.

We all expose a lot of information about ourselves online. Sometimes we share on purpose, and sometimes we do it without realizing. As any parent can attest, children and teens often share unintentionally or without fully thinking through the consequences. Many parents rightly fear that this may come back and haunt their kids later in life, as they apply to colleges or jobs or try to secure an apartment. Unfortunately, in addition to being prone to sharing, children and teens are particularly vulnerable to harm from such sharing. 

Common Sense has long fought for strong rules to protect young people online, including those that protect kids on child-directed sites and that protect K–12 students using edtech apps and products. Recently, we have advocated for rules that would protect children and teens at the network level and that would apply to Internet service providers. 

Today, we filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission urging that they move forward with their proposed network privacy rules and that they make it clear that these rules cover school and library users, many of whom are kids. The rules offer strong protections for all broadband subscribers and in general require that ISPs get subscribers' consent before using personal information for any purpose other than providing Internet service.  

Why do we support strong rules for everyone and not only children and teens? Because young people are heavy Internet users whose information is mixed in with all the other information on the network. Without further peeking into individuals' private lives, it could be difficult for an ISP to determine when it is handling a kid's information. Since we want parents and families to feel more secure in their privacy, not less, we think it's important that there be strong rules across the board. To read our filing, click here.

Ariel Fox Johnson
Ariel Fox Johnson is Senior Counsel for Global Policy at Common Sense Media, where she advocates for smart practices, policies, and rules to help all kids thrive in today’s wired world. Her work focuses on enhancing family privacy rights, strengthening students' educational privacy, and promoting robust consumer protections in the online world. She frequently advises policymakers, industry, and tech experts, and has helped develop laws on student privacy, consumer privacy, and the Internet of Things. Ariel is a graduate of Harvard College and Law School. Prior to joining Common Sense, Ariel worked on privacy, media, intellectual property, and technology matters at corporate law firms, and provided pro bono assistance to nonprofits and asylum seekers.