In his State of the Union address last week, President Biden declared that he wants to: “strengthen privacy protections, ban targeted advertising to children, and demand tech companies stop collecting personal data on our children.” This statement comes just a couple of weeks after Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the Kids Online Safety Act. That legislation, together with the Senate Judiciary Committee’s consideration of the EARN IT Act, a bill aimed at protecting children from online sexual exploitation, gives Congress several options to focus on the internet and child safety—now with the President’s blessing.
The timing of the President’s declaration is important because the number of days available for Congress to take legislative action is shortening as the midterm elections approach. Though Congress has already held several hearings about online platforms, particularly in the Judiciary Subcommittees with jurisdiction over antitrust, now remains an important time for stakeholders to engage in the discussion. After the President’s address, the U.S. Senate is almost certainly laying the groundwork for what it would call a larger “tech accountability” package.