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Wed Nov 2 16:02:10 UTC 2011

ducation programs to address the media literacy problem here; 2) focus on d=
evising solutions to minimize how data is is abused that do not focus speci=
fically on children. =A0All populations are vulnerable with this regard and=
 it doesn't help kids if clueless parents are making poor decisions on =
their behalf without understanding what&#39;s at stake.<br>

Protectionism from the State doesn&#39;t tend to do a lot of good. =A0It mo=
tivates industry and parents and children to circumvent the restrictions by=
 any means possible. =A0Parents don&#39;t want government playing in-loco p=
arentis even when it&#39;s well-intended. =A0If we want to help parents and=
 children, we need to focus on empowering them directly. =A0They need to un=
derstand enough so that they can speak out against what&#39;s not right.<br=

I&#39;m a firm believer in Lessig&#39;s point that four systems regulate: t=
he market, the law, social norms, and architecture (or code). I also believ=
e that the most powerful force is social norms. =A0If you&#39;re upset with=
 the market and how technology is being employed to help the market, the la=
w isn&#39;t the appropriate solution if it doesn&#39;t align with social no=
rms. =A0You need social norms and the law to be working together. =A0This r=
equires focusing on people, their beliefs, their practices, their attitudes=

As for your suggestion about children opting out from tracking... have you =
read the COPPA requirements? =A0The mere act of collecting a username, let =
alone a name or any other PII requires parental permission. =A0The law isn&=
#39;t actually just about how the data is used. It&#39;s about how the data=
 is collected. =A0Even if companies don&#39;t use it for targeted marketing=
, if they collect the data, they have to get parent permission.<br>

One of the most heartbreaking conversations that I had in this whole proces=
s was with a psychiatrist working at a private hospital. =A0(Note: non-prof=
its are exempt from COPPA but for-profits, including hospitals, are not.) =
=A0She wanted to create an online hotline-esque program for tweens who were=
 engaged in self-destructive behaviors, including anorexia, self-injury, su=
icidal practices, and child abuse. =A0She was specifically concerned about =
COPPA. =A0But she was told from her lawyers that she couldn&#39;t put toget=
her an online forum because she would have to get parent permission. =A0How=
 do you ask a parent who is abusing their child to let them join a site foc=
used on abuse? =A0How do you tell an LGBT kid that they need parent permiss=
ion for a site meant to help them figure out how to come out to their paren=
ts? =A0She was heartbroken and frustrated.<br>

MacArthur is running into the same problem. =A0The moment that they do anyt=
hing that&#39;s a public-private partnership, they have to abide by COPPA. =
=A0That means that they have to focus on data collection, regardless of how=
 the data is used.<br>

COPPA isn&#39;t just about targeted marketing. If it were, the focus would =
be on the usage not the collection.<br>
<font color=3D"#888888"><br>
On Nov 3, 2011, at 4:00 AM, Mark Andrejevic wrote:<br>
&gt; Thanks for this heads up about an interesting and provocative study. W=
hat I find disturbing about it is the fact that the question of tracking is=
 downplayed in your survey, even though the issue of tracking is a core con=
cern of the policy measures the study purportedly addresses.<br>

&gt; What emerges from your findings is that most parents think that age re=
strictions have to do with issues of maturity and safety which they can add=
ress themselves (without the heavy hand of the state, thanks very much) thr=
ough awareness/monitoring of their children&#39;s activity (and state guide=
lines). Only two parents in the sample mention privacy -- none, I gather, m=
ention tracking and targeting.<br>

&gt; I&#39;m willing to bet you would have gotten very different results if=
 you had specifically addressed the questions of behavioral tracking, data-=
mining, and targeted advertising by, say, asking parents whether age restri=
ctions should be set on the ability of companies to collect, save, and mine=
 detailed data about children&#39;s behavior in order to market to them mor=
e effectively -- which is, of course, the question at the heart of the trac=
king measures you discuss. It is telling that only 9 percent of respondents=
 reported that their children&#39;s data were used for marketing and advert=
ising -- when, of course, this is the case for 100 percent of those parents=
 whose kids are on Facebook. Thank you for noting, in this regard, that. &q=
uot;Given how few parents believe their children=92s data have been used fo=
r marketing and advertising, it is likely that: parents are either unaware =
of how these techniques work or they imagine a different aspect of marketin=
g when they report their concerns regarding personalized marketing and targ=
eted advertising.&quot;<br>

&gt; That lack of awareness is an important qualification to the following =
policy-related finding that parents, &quot;are not looking for mandatory ag=
e restrictions as the solution to their concerns about safety and privacy.&=
quot; The preferred option for protecting children identified by your respo=
ndents: &quot;getting parents involved in children&#39;s online activities,=
&quot; has to be understood against the background of the lack of awareness=
 and understanding of tracking practices. Parents who do not understand how=
 tracking works and don&#39;t know that it&#39;s taking place aren&#39;t go=
ing to be able to address the issues it raises through involving themselves=
 in their children&#39;s activities.<br>

&gt; I&#39;m also not sure how to square your claim that parents are not in=
 favor of mandatory age restrictions with your finding that, with respect t=
o data collection, &quot;57 percent would prefer restrictions, even if it m=
eans that children in general will be banned from social network sites.&quo=
t; (It&#39;s suggestive that you frame this finding by noting that, &quot;E=
ven when the focus is on data collection, parents are not uniformly in favo=
r of restrictions on what information social network sites can collect abou=
t children.&quot; Another way to frame it would be to note that &quot;A sig=
nificant majority of parents favor some type of age-based restriction on wh=
at information social network sites can collect about their children&quot;)=
. I couldn&#39;t find a table for that, so I&#39;d be curious to know how t=
hat question was framed. It seems to me to be a significant finding -- give=
n the fact that a majority of parents claim to be willing to sacrifice acce=
ss in order to protect their children from certain types of tracking. What =
if the option were that children could have access to such sites without be=
ing tracked? My guess is that you&#39;d see an even larger majority of pare=
nts saying they would prefer access with restrictions on tracking, even if =
that meant government regulation.<br>

&gt; When it comes to data-collection regulations, I think it is important =
to qualify your conclusion that, &quot;Our data show that the majority of p=
arents think it is acceptable for their children to violate access restrict=
ions if they feel as though doing so furthers their children=92s educationa=
l objectives, enables family communication, or enhances their children=92s =
social interactions&quot; with the observation that most of the parents who=
 feel this way seem to have a lack of awareness or understanding of the dat=
a collection regimes that the legislation (which leads to access restrictio=
ns) is meant to address. To my mind this qualification (combined with the f=
inding that a majority of parents do support some type of age-based restric=
tion on data collection) significantly weakens the case against the regulat=
ions you target.<br>

&gt; While I&#39;d agree with your conclusion that &quot;universal privacy =
protections&quot; are in order...I would also express concern about the fra=
ming and the practical import of your article. You make a case against the =
consequences of a law that is not doing what it is supposed to do (thanks l=
argely to the way the industry has responded), but to my mind a much less e=
ffective case against the actual goal (of protecting children from the soph=
isticated forms of manipulation being developed by data driven marketers). =
Nor do you make it clear that parents are opposed to this kind of protectio=
n, at least in the case of tracking, monitoring, and targeting. Then you us=
e the industry response to indict the law. We might equally critique Facebo=
ok which chooses to respond by restricting access ineffectively (and thereb=
y getting to have its &quot;underage&quot; data too), rather than providing=
 parents with information and options. Couldn&#39;t Facebook easily bypass =
the onerous process of parental notification and consent by providing an op=
t-out provision: children who indicate that they are under a certain age wo=
uld be allowed access, but exempted from tracking. It seems that many of th=
e issues you raise including parental preference for restrictions on data c=
ollection could be addressed by making the law stronger (preventing Faceboo=
k from tracking anyone under 13) rather than scrapping it.<br>

&gt; There is something cynical about the asymmetry in verification require=
ments: there must be verifiable parental consent for those under 13 to acqu=
iesce to tracking, but sites are not required to get verifiable proof that =
those who say they are over 13 really are. In other words, the workaround a=
dopted by Web sites like Facebook is clearly structured to encourage lying =
-- and thereby to encourage tracking of &quot;underage&quot; users. Is it r=
eally complying with COPPA to allow claims to be over 13 to be made without=

&gt; Could we agree that what is going on, if we step back and sum it up is=
 that Facebook is phenomenally popular among young people and an important =
part of their social lives. However, it is also a commercial site whose eco=
nomic model relies on detailed monitoring, data mining, and target marketin=
g. We have, as a society, placed ourselves in a position in which an import=
ant infrastructure for young people&#39;s self-expression and sociality rel=
ies on submitting them to the most sophisticated techniques for surveillanc=
e and marketing yet developed (remember when we used to worry about adverti=
sing in the schools?). In order to placate ourselves we have developed a la=
w that, while purporting to protect children from -- or at least inform the=
ir parents about -- these techniques, actually allows the tracking and targ=
eting to take place &quot;unofficially.&quot;<br>

&gt; You point out that the law is ineffective and that parents who admitte=
dly don&#39;t know how tracking works don&#39;t support government mandated=
 age requirements -- except for the significant majority of parents who sup=
port age-based restrictions on data collection even at the expense of loss =
of access by their children to important resources for sociality, family co=
mmunication and education (am I misreading this finding? -- it seems like i=
t runs counter to much of your argument). If the goal is universal privacy =
protection, I&#39;m not sure why it wouldn&#39;t make more sense to provide=
 workable protection for groups that have historically been easier to shiel=
d from the most aggressive forms of marketing and work from there, rather t=
han to say the law should be scrapped because industry didn&#39;t respond t=
o it appropriately and parents don&#39;t seem to want age-based restriction=
s (except for the majority who think they are appropriate when it comes to =
data collection). Indeed, the tone of the article, with its framing of regu=
lation as an impingement upon personal freedom and parental authority under=
mines the concluding gesture toward universal -- and thus stronger -- priva=
cy protections -- unless these end up being a matter of industry self-regul=
ation. That would certainly fit well with the industry agenda, but I&#39;m =
not sure it accurately reflects public preference (I know, I know, get fund=
ing for my own study...actually, there&#39;s one underway).<br>

&gt; If you&#39;re submitting this paper to the FTC in this form, I&#39;d c=
ertainly be interested in addressing the arguments you make here in public =
comments to the FTC.<br>
&quot;taken out of context, i must seem so strange&quot; -- ani<br>
<a href=3D"" target=3D"_blank">http://www.=</a><br>
<a href=3D"" target=3D"_blank"></=


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