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Children's Online Privacy And Protection Act Of 1998

3875 words - 16 pages

The Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act of 1998 On May 2, 2000 Representative Jay Inslee of Washington State told his colleagues on the floor of the House why he supported the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998. The Congressman cited a March of 1998 study of children's websites conducted by the Federal Trade Commission. The study found that while almost ninety percent collected data from the user; only one-quarter posted privacy policies(Inslee, par.5) Furthermore, only three websites of the two hundred-twelve sites surveyed required parental consent for the collection or disclosure of children's information. The legislation, as he states, "prohibits unfair and ...view middle of the document...

The numbers of the study were overwhelming. Even though the sample was small in comparison to the World Wide Web, its findings were convincing. Our Children, the first generation to grow up online, was surfing the web without any basic privacy protection. By July 17th of that same year, Senator Dick Bryan of Nevada introduced bill S. 2326IS with cosponsor Senator John McCain of Arizona. It would later receive a second cosponsor in New Jersey's Frank Lautenberg. The legislation was read twice and was sent to the Committee of Commerce on September 23rd. On October 1st of 1998 hearings were held by the Subcommittee on Communications, S.Hrg. 105-1069. The Bill Summary showed no Amendments and on October 21, 1998 COPPA was signed into law as part of the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1999.Its history unlike many other statutes is short. Legislation usually takes time. Many of our nations Federal statutes have taken years to garner enough support to make it through our grid locked Congress and become law. However, this piece of legislation did it in five short months. COPPA when introduced was a piece of legislation that was political in a positive sense. It was not extremely controversial and it did not waver much in the political ring. COPPA was introduced and sponsored by influential forces within the Senate. Its goal was to protect our children's privacy online. What elected official could possibly not support such an idea from such influential lawmakers? To many who do not understand the World Wide Web, there is a fear. The fear of the unknown, or of what could be possible. When you put our innocent children into this mix, COPPA is statute that every senator would want his name attached to. The symbolic message that they are striving to protect our children from the evils that could come from the Internet. COPPA was rushed through Congress and was attached to the Appropriations bill as a sure fire method of getting it approved (CME,pars.4-8) When the bill was signed into law, the President makes no mention of COPPA in his signing statement. I believe this can be attributed to its small size and relative age. Possibly the President had no real clue that it was included on the larger bill, or because it was already stamped with his support that it was not in his interest to comment on (Kopp). COPPA has the air of positive legislation, from proven lawmakers.Its quick introduction and passage can be accredited to its sponsors. The bill was introduced by retiring Senator Dick Bryan of Nevada. Bryan a two-term Democrat from the state of Nevada was a member of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. His cosponsor Republican Senator John McCain chairs the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. With the bill being introduced by both a member, and chair of the Committee the bill would be sent to, it is plausible to see how easily it made it through the Subcommittee hearings, and back to the Floor for passage(United...

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