The first legislation that would protect the privacy of people using the Internet has been approved by a Senate committee. It would require online companies to make "any reasonable effort" to get parental consent before asking children under 13 for their names or e-mail address.

Under the bill approved by the Senate Commerce Committee, the Federal Trade Commission would enforce the new privacy rules for children. The committee stripped from the bill language limits on what personal information could be gathered about children ages 13-17.Federal regulators said this summer that many companies are collecting personal information from children online, sometimes asking for their names and e-mail addresses using animated characters or as an incentive to join a contest or play a game.

There are no federal privacy laws governing adult Internet users.