03 Aug 2012

More FTC Privacy Guidelines for Children Online


The Federal Trade Commission took it upon itself to devise and recommend privacy regulations to create a safer online environment for children under 13 while surfing the Internet from their mobile devices.

These new rules amend the 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act that set up the first protection steps websites need to take to protect those under 13. The FTC wants to make sure children remain protected in this new technological era of mobile devices and popular mobile applications.

This new rule “would allocate and clarify the responsibilities under COPPA when third parties such as advertising networks or downloadable software kits ("plug-ins") collect personal information from users through child-directed websites or services.” An ad network or plug-in such as the “Like” button in Facebook that can skirt parents’ approval to gather data about children preferences across sites will from now on have to get grown-ups to agree first to this data collection.

“A persistent identifier will be considered personal information where it can be used to recognize a user over time, or across different sites or services, where it is used for purposes other than support for internal operations”. Child’s location is included in this list of private data a network or an app should not collect without adult permission. It will fall into the category of “personal information” all collected data used to contact a certain person for behaviorally-targeted advertising or other invasive purposes.

The Federal Trade Commission first made public the new modifications to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule last year in September and seeks public comments and feedback until September 10th.