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Collecting Personal Data From Children

Let's now focus on an issue that is noted in the Yahoo privacy statement, namely the issue relating to children's use of the Internet. In particular, the question of how information is collected from children is worth examining.

Increasingly children are becoming a target for direct marketing over the Internet or television. Please elaborate on/give examples of some specific privacy issues related to kids.

The US is the largest market for electronic commerce and the White House report "A framework for Global Electronic Commerce" (dated 1 July 1997) cites as a particular concern "the use of information gathered from children, who may lack the cognitive ability to recognise and appreciate privacy concerns. Parents should be able to choose whether or not personally identifiable information is collected from or about their children". As a result of a large scale survey of websites, the US Federal Trade Commission in its "Report to Congress on Privacy Online" (dated 4 June 1998) recommended legislation that would place parents in control of the online collection and use of personal data from their children. This legislation requires that when websites collect information from kids they also need to provide notice to the children's parents and obtain parental consent. The aim of the legislation is to ensure that parents know about, and control, the online collection of information from their children.