Last week, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the bipartisan Kids Online Safety Act (“KOSA”), which would impose new safeguards, tools, and transparency requirements for minors online.  The bill applies to entities that are a “commercial software application or electronic service that connects to the internet and that is used, or is reasonably likely to be used, by a minor [under 17].”  While several bills have been introduced in the Senate and House of Representatives to regulate the collection or use of personal data of minors through amendments to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), this bill instead focuses on activities that are likely to impact the type and amount of content minors are exposed to online.

The law would:

  • Create a “duty to act in the best interests of a minor that uses [a covered entity’s] products or services”;
  • Provide minors and parents controls such as the ability to opt-out of recommendation systems that use a minor’s personal data, to limit “features that increase, sustain, or extend use” of an online service, and to limit time minors spend on a service;
  • Require that the controls listed above, among others, are applied by default to covered services;
  • Require covered entities to provide in their terms and conditions an overview of any algorithmic recommendation systems that process personal data of minors or provide information to minors;
  • Require covered entities to annually conduct an independent audit of risks of harm to minors on their service and issue a public report based on its findings; and
  • Create opportunities for researchers and non-profit organizations to access datasets from covered entities for purposes of researching harms to and the safety and well-being of minors.
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Photo of Lindsey Tonsager Lindsey Tonsager

Lindsey Tonsager helps national and multinational clients in a broad range of industries anticipate and effectively evaluate legal and reputational risks under federal and state data privacy and communications laws.

In addition to assisting clients engage strategically with the Federal Trade Commission, the…

Lindsey Tonsager helps national and multinational clients in a broad range of industries anticipate and effectively evaluate legal and reputational risks under federal and state data privacy and communications laws.

In addition to assisting clients engage strategically with the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Congress, and other federal and state regulators on a proactive basis, she has experience helping clients respond to informal investigations and enforcement actions, including by self-regulatory bodies such as the Digital Advertising Alliance and Children’s Advertising Review Unit.

Ms. Tonsager’s practice focuses on helping clients launch new products and services that implicate the laws governing the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising and social media, the collection of personal information from children and students online, behavioral advertising, e-mail marketing, artificial intelligence the processing of “big data” in the Internet of Things, spectrum policy, online accessibility, compulsory copyright licensing, telecommunications and new technologies.

Ms. Tonsager also conducts privacy and data security diligence in complex corporate transactions and negotiates agreements with third-party service providers to ensure that robust protections are in place to avoid unauthorized access, use, or disclosure of customer data and other types of confidential information. She regularly assists clients in developing clear privacy disclosures and policies―including website and mobile app disclosures, terms of use, and internal social media and privacy-by-design programs.

Photo of Madeline Salinas Madeline Salinas

Madeline Salinas is an associate in the firm’s Washington, DC office and a member of the Data Privacy and Cybersecurity and Communications and Media Practice Groups.