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FTC: Does COPPA Rule need changes?

The Federal Trade Commission is requesting comments on the effectiveness of the amendments the agency made to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA Rule) in 2013 and whether additional changes are needed. The COPPA Rule, which first went into effect in 2000 to implement the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, requires certain websites and other online services that collect personal information from children under the age of 13 to provide notice to parents and obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from those children. Specific questions on which the FTC is seeking comment include:

  • Has the Rule affected the availability of websites or online services directed to children?
  • Does the Rule correctly articulate the factors to consider in determining whether a website or online service is directed to children, or should additional factors be considered? For example, should the Rule be amended to better address websites and online services that may not include traditionally child-oriented activities, but have large numbers of child users?
  • What are the implications for COPPA enforcement raised by technologies such as interactive television, interactive gaming, or other similar interactive media?
  • Should the Commission consider a specific exception to parental consent for the use of education technology in schools?
  • Should the Commission modify the Rule to encourage general audience platforms to identify and police child-directed content uploaded by third parties?

UPDATE: The Commission's request for public comment was published at 84 FR 35842 in the July 25, 2019, Federal Register. Comments are due by October 23, 2019. The Commission will hold a public workshop to review the COPPA Rule on October 7, 2019.

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