New Guidelines: Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act

Children's Online Privacy Protection Act

COPPA Changes
With today’s technology making it easy to get online and do almost anything imaginable, keeping your children safe from danger is more important than ever. There’s a ton of devices that allow kids of all ages to access social media sites from their mobile phones, including the popular Facebook. These devices range from iPhones and Androids to iPads, Kindles and Surface. It can be a dangerous world out there, especially for unsuspecting children if access is not monitored and restricted.

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Your Child’s Information
Now the policies that govern companies collection and use of children’s personal information has been updated to include the social media and mobile technology era. In early July 2013, the updated Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) went into effect. With the new bill, websites and phone apps that collect information from children must now have express permission from parents, with their information treated in the same manner as their home or email addresses. These new laws also mandate that firms are more responsible for the data collected by third parties.

Overseen by the Federal Trade Commission, COPPA first went into effect in early 2000, providing the language that websites must use in privacy polices of websites that offer their services to children who are under the age of 13. These sites also require that permission from the child’s parent be obtained before any type of personal data can be transmitted.

The COPPA updates did not stop there. Under the new updates, companies are forbidden to use cookies or other digital identifiers to track kids and tailor ads based on their search behaviors. Additionally, the data collected for technological reasons must be immediately deleted.

Controversy for Two Years
The strict COPPA requirements are usually reasons that social media sites such as Facebook and a handful of other social networking sites will not offer an account to a child under the age of 13, even if they have parental permission. Although COPPA may not directly affect sites such as Facebook and Twitter, it will affect them in the end as they’ll be paying special attention to third-parties on their sites.

The new COPPA bills came after a two-year long deliberation took place, complete with plenty of complaints. Many app developers worry the new bill and the stricter rules will hurt them economically. Other groups were unhappy from the beginning when the updated versions were recommended. The Interactive Advertising Board and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce were among several companies that attempted to postpone the actions through request from the FTC. They were unsuccessful.

Changes that come with the new COPPA requirements may not be seen immediately, and regular individuals and parents may not even notice anything different, other than a few emails in their inbox from the sites their children may visit as well as their phone provider. Additionally, the FTC advised that it would take quite some time for enforcement of the law to go into effect, ensuring that everyone has the time to make the necessary changes.

For more information on COPPA, we have provided links below.

Children’s Online Privacy Protection act site:
http://www.coppa.org/

What is COPPA?
http://www.coppa.org/coppa.htm

How to Comply with The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule?
http://www.coppa.org/comply.htm

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