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Protecting Privacy & Child Safety: The Risks of Congress Rushing Flawed Legislation

WASHINGTON—Today, the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee will hold a hearing to review 10 different bills that if passed would have a broad impact on how Americans of all ages are able to access and use digital services and tools. 

“The issues that these bills tackle are important to get right for Americans, our children and our businesses. Lawmakers must take a thoughtful and thorough approach to tackling them—not a rushed one,” said Carl Szabo, NetChoice Vice President & General Counsel. “Each bill in front of the Committee is incredibly complex. Lawmakers must give every one the appropriate analysis and scrutiny they deserve, especially when it comes to handing the government significant power over Americans online.”

For one, the American Privacy Rights Act (APRA) was introduced only two weeks ago, and it tackles the immensely important and difficult issue of a U.S. national standard for digital privacy. NetChoice is very supportive of its goal to establish a national privacy standard to safeguard American data. While it has a few positive attributes, this legislation as written has a long way to go before it is ready for prime time. It alone could use its own hearing to sort out these details.

Next up is the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA), which if passed would in essence demand extensive data collection on all Americans and children, establish a censorship regime and undermine parental rights online, all while violating the freedoms of every U.S. citizen. 

  • The required surveillance system under KOSA seems contrary to the Committee’s goals with APRA. 
  • Additionally, KOSA strengthens the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has already misused its existing power for ideological aims and ignored oversight from House Republican leadership. Lawmakers should hesitate to give this FTC further power and reject granting it authority over free speech online.
  • The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) has also detailed KOSA’s problems with free speech and Americans’ rights. 

The Protecting Kids on Social Media Act requires age verification by digital services explicitly, which will run into immediate legal trouble as NetChoice has seen in court rulings against Arkansas and Ohio for similar measures. 

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, known as “COPPA 2.0,” is another bill up for consideration in this hearing that would fail to make digital tools safer for children. If enacted, COPPA 2.0 would hinder digital tools and resources for educational purposes and increase costs for young users online. Similar to KOSA, it also hands the FTC more authority. 

If all this information feels like a doozy, it should. These are only four out of the 10 different, complex bills that House Energy & Commerce will consider today. 

Below, we’ve included various resources lawmakers should carefully review while considering these bills. NetChoice hopes they will proceed cautiously while tackling these issues. They will have serious consequences for the digital economy, Americans of all ages’ information access, privacy, security, and protected rights. 
Please contact Krista Chavez at with inquiries.


Resources on Bills In Front of the House Energy & Commerce Committee on April 17, 2024: