Is COPPA in for an Update?
FTC calls for broad public comment on children’s data privacy rules

by Doug Chartier

Federal data privacy regulations aimed toward protecting children might be due for a major change.

The Federal Trade Commission on July 17 announced it is seeking public comment on its Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, Rule. The regulations govern the hoops companies must jump through if they run certain websites or “online services” that collect data from children under 13. The FTC’s call for public comment puts a spotlight on one of the older U.S. data privacy regulations.

“In light of rapid technological changes that impact the online children’s marketplace, we must ensure COPPA remains effective,” said FTC Chairman Joe Simons in a press release. He added that the commission needs to “regularly revisit, and if warranted, update the Rule.”

Certain websites, mobile apps and Internet-of-Things devices are subject to the COPPA Rule if they’re “directed to children” and collect personal information from children. The rule, which first went into effect in 2000, also covers websites or online services that knowingly collect children’s personal information. COPPA requires companies to post a privacy policy outlining what they do with data they collect from kids under 13, as well as what third parties such as plug-ins or ad networks do with the data.

To read the rest of this story and other complete articles featured in the July 29, 2019 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.