On July 29, 2021, U.S. Representative Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Florida), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, reintroduced the Protecting the Information of our Vulnerable Children and Youth Act (the “Bill”). The Bill would update the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) to, among other requirements: (1) cover teens ages 13-17; (2) expand the categories of information considered to be “personal” (to include physical characteristics, biometric information, health information, education information, contents of messages and calls, browsing and search history, geolocation information, and latent audio or visual recordings); (3) prohibit companies from targeting online advertising to children and teens based on their personal information and behavior; (4) require opt-in consent to process personal information collected from all individuals under age 18; (5) strengthen Federal Trade Commission enforcement of COPPA; (6) provide a private right of action to parents of children and teens; and (7) eliminate the FTC’s recognition of self-regulatory COPPA safe harbor programs.

The legislation was drafted to reflect and include certain key elements of the UK’s Age Appropriate Design Code, including expanding coverage to sites likely to be accessed by children and teens, requiring privacy and security impact assessments, and directing operators to take into consideration the best interests of youth in designing their services.