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The Revised Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule and Your Business

The Federal Trade Commission’s revised Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule (COPPA) took effect July 1st, giving parents greater control over the online collection of their children’s personal information. The revised COPPA rule addresses changes in the way children use and access the Internet, including the increased use of mobile devices and social networking. It widens the definition of children’s personal information to include persistent identifiers such as cookies that track a child’s activity online, as well as geolocation information, photos, videos, and audio recordings.

The FTC has also released two new pieces designed to help small businesses that operate child-directed websites, mobile applications and plug-ins ensure they are compliant with upcoming changes to the rule.

The first is a document, “The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule: A Six-Step Compliance Plan for Your Business, which is designed especially for small businesses and contains a step-by-step process for companies to determine if they are covered by COPPA, and what steps they are required to take to protect children’s privacy. The FTC also released a video aimed at businesses to help explain their obligations under the revised rule, including an explanation of the changes.

When setting up an online business, there are a lot of elements that you need need to consider. For example, websites designed for children under age 13 or sites that know they're collecting information from children under 13 are subject to rules concerning child online privacy. Failure to comply with these rules can lead to steep government fines. Congress enacted the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) in 1998. The law allows parents to control the information collected by businesses and websites from children. Since that time, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has monitored businesses to ensure they're in compliance with COPPA.

Our next blog will outline some questions that can help make sure your business complies with the updated COPPA policy.

 


 

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