Eight out of 10 adults say advertisers shouldn't collect information about children's Web activities, even when the advertisers don't know the children's names, according to a new study by the Center for Digital Democracy and Common Sense Media.
An even higher proportion of adults -- 91% -- said that advertisers shouldn't collect location data from a child's mobile phone, the groups report. Ninety-four percent of adults say they disapprove of Web site operators asking children for personal information about their friends.
Parents, as well as adults without children, criticized data collection from minors in almost equal proportions. The study was based on a November poll of more than 2,000 adults.
Currently, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act bans Web site operators from knowingly collecting personal information from children under 13 without parental consent, but empowers the FTC to define key terms, including Web site operators and personal information.
The FTC recently proposed broadening the definition of personal information to include any unique identifier -- including anonymous tracking cookies, device serial numbers and, in some cases, IP addresses. That definition would effectively prohibit marketers from intentionally using behavioral advertising techniques on children younger than 13.
The FTC is expected to finalize the regulations shortly.
Industry self-regulatory principles limit the use of online behavioral advertising techniques on children, but privacy advocates say those principles don't substitute for legally binding regulations that would apply to all companies.