March 4th, 2004
Letter to U.S. Senators in support of Children's Listbroker Protection Act
By Gary Ruskin
Letter to U.S. Senators in support of Children’s Listbroker Protection ActDear Senator:
We strongly endorse the Children’s Listbroker Privacy Act, which would prohibit corporations from selling the personal information of children below 16 years of age for commercial marketing purposes, without parental consent. The bill (S. 2160) was introduced on March 3rd by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ted Stevens (R-AK).
It is intolerable that listbrokers currently sell lists of the names and personal information of children as young as two years of age. Such privacy invasion appears to be commonplace. The Student Marketing Group sells a list of “Preschool children between the ages of 2 and 5,” its website boasts. “Each record includes the child’s full name, address, and age” and can include other information, such as gender and telephone number (http://www.studentmarketing.net/dataserv.htm). American Student List sells a list of “Over 20 million students ranging in age from 2-13,” (http://www.studentlist.com/products/index.shtml) according to its website.
Parents deserve legal tools to protect their children from privacy invasion, and to help keep out destructive commercial influences on their children’s lives.
The children’s listbroker privacy bill would give parents the ability to protect their children’s personal information, especially from commercial marketers or child predators.
Children need special privacy protections because they are more trusting than adults, and that trust is often easy to exploit. Most children do not possess the cognitive capacity to fully comprehend privacy concerns or threats.
We urge you to co-sponsor the Children’s Listbroker Privacy Act. If you have any questions about the bill, feel free to contact Gary Ruskin of Commercial Alert at 503.235.8012.
Alliance for Childhood
Consumer Federation of America
Consumer Project on Technology
National Consumers League