Drafted in 1998, well before MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks burst onto the scene, the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday updated COPPA. The amendments work to protect children online, noting that certain information cannot be collected without parental consent, such as geolocation information and photos. A change in the Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) means that children under the age of 13 can be shown ads targeted toward them when they’re online.
But now after the changes to COPPA, the act takes a twist and now allows advertising to children under the age of 13:
The definition of personal information requiring parental notice and consent before collection now includes “persistent identifiers” that can be used to recognize users over time and across different websites or online services. However, no parental notice and consent is required when an operator collects a persistent identifier for the sole purpose of supporting the website or online service’s internal operations, such as contextual advertising, frequency capping, legal compliance, site analysis, and network communications. Without parental consent, such information may never be used or disclosed to contact a specific individual, including through behavioral advertising, to amass a profile on a specific individual, or for any other purpose.
The final amendments:
- modify the list of “personal information” that cannot be collected without parental notice and consent, clarifying that this category includes geolocation information, photographs, and videos;
- offer companies a streamlined, voluntary and transparent approval process for new ways of getting parental consent;
- close a loophole that allowed kid-directed apps and websites to permit third parties to collect personal information from children through plug-ins without parental notice and consent;
- extend coverage in some of those cases so that the third parties doing the additional collection also have to comply with COPPA;
- extend the COPPA Rule to cover persistent identifiers that can recognize users over time and across different websites or online services, such as IP addresses and mobile device IDs;
- strengthen data security protections by requiring that covered website operators and online service providers take reasonable steps to release children’s personal information only to companies that are capable of keeping it secure and confidential;
- require that covered website operators adopt reasonable procedures for data retention and deletion; and
- strengthen the FTC’s oversight of self-regulatory safe harbor programs.
The COPPA Rule was mandated when Congress passed the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998. It requires that operators of websites or online services that are either directed to children under 13 or have actual knowledge that they are collecting personal information from children under 13 give notice to parents and get their verifiable consent before collecting, using, or disclosing such personal information, and keep secure the information they collect from children. It also prohibits them from conditioning children’s participation in activities on the collection of more personal information than is reasonably necessary for them to participate. The Rule contains a “safe harbor” provision that allows industry groups or others to seek FTC approval of self-regulatory guidelines.
LOL, the bold is the important part. What a great nation we live in when just one Agency controls the regulatory status of online advertising. On top of all that, they can simply “amend” which means change anytime they want to. In any bet, this should kick up the conversions on downloadable products such as wallpapers, toolbars and all that stupid shit kids are into.