Oct. 4 (UPI) -- A bipartisan group of senators sent a letter Friday urging the Federal Trade Commission not to weaken protections for children's privacy online.
The lawmakers sent the letter in response to the FTC's proposal to update the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. The agency asked for public comments as it evaluates potential changes to the rules.
COPPA requires websites to notify parents and seek consent for collecting children's data. The COPPA rule wasn't scheduled to be reviewed until 2023.
The group of senators, which include Sens. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., said they agree the act needs to be updated, but they're worried the FTC doesn't understand the threat "giant tech companies pose to children and parents."
The senators cited a recent FTC settlement with Google "over blatant, widespread violations of COPPA," and accused the agency of not including "sufficient structural injunctions to prevent future violations by Google."
"Now is not the time to pull back," the senators wrote. "As children's use of technology continues to increase, so too does the appetite by tech giants for children's personal information.
"Your agency's obligation is to put consumers' interests first and enforce the law. Therefore, should the FTC move forward with this review and new rule making, we strongly urge you to exercise sound regulatory judgment and to pursue only those changes that prioritize children's privacy and well-being."