FTC Retains Children's Online Privacy Protection (COPPA) Rule

Posted by Peerapong Tantamjarik

On March 8, 2006, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it decided to retain, without changes, the regulations implementing COPPA, a federal law enacted in 1998 to better protect children's personal information on the web. Generally, COPPA applies to operators of websites and online services directed to children under 13 years of age that also collect personal information from children. COPPA requires such operators to adhere to a clear set of standards such as posting a privacy policy and a link to the policy everywhere personal information is collected; provide notice to parents and in most instances, obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting any child's personal information; provide parents access to their child's information and control over deletion of the information; and maintain the confidentiality, security, and integrity of the personal information collected from children.

Typically, COPPA rules come into play for children-focused websites that seek to be more interactive for the child or seek contact information for follow-up e-mails or newsletters directed to the child (a child's e-mail address or screen name that reveals the child's e-mail address is considered personal information that if collected, must comply with COPPA). Good examples of websites that are COPPA-compliant are Disney's and Nickelodeon's (which are also compliant with California's separate online privacy rules). The COPPA Rule seeks to strike a balance between privacy of children's information and the effect on the ability to access content of their choice online.

You can view the Federal Register notice here.

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