Is Your Website Compliant With the New COPPA Rules?
Many are accidentally collecting information from children in violation of the revised Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
Marlisse Silver Sweeney, Law Technology News
June 11, 2014 |0 Comments
Amendments made last year to the Federal Trade Commission’s regulation that implements the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act “broaden its reach and toughen its requirements,” according to a post on the Wiley on Media blog by William Baker, counsel at Wiley Rein. And it’s possible that many company websites are not complying with them, he said.
COPPA defines a child as an individual under the age of 13. The legislation makes it unlawful for a website or online service to collect personal information from children unless there is parental consent. However, not all sites are in compliance with the law, even if they believe they are, said Baker. “There are ways to trip up,” he said. For instance, if a company collects the birthdays of its users, it can be charged with having knowledge of users under 13.
Last year, the FTC also broadened the definition of “personal information,” said Baker. The act defined it as “individually identifiable information about an individual collected online, including: a first and last name; a home or other physical address including street name and name of a city or town; an e-mail address; a telephone number; a Social Security number”; and other identifiers. The rule also applies to third-party tools, such as Facebook “like” buttons and advertising networks, explained Baker.
Samuel Gibbs reported in The Guardian that Facebook’s new plans for children to join the social network appear to comply with the amended FTC rules. Facebook plans to have parents first verify their child’s identity, then their relationship to the child before allowing the child to create an account. “Parents would then have parental control tools to restrict access to certain content, friends and third-party applications,” he said.
Attorney Marlisse Silver Sweeney is a freelance writer based in Vancouver. Twitter: @MarlisseSS.