The FTC recently sent out a request for comments on the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which has been in place since 2000. The law requires companies to obtain verifiable consent before collecting personally identifiable information from children online. In light of new technologies and changes in the way children use the Internet, the FTC is asking for input on, inter alia, the impact of COPPA on mobile communications and interactive gaming; the use of automatic filters to screen personal information; whether other technical means should be listed for obtaining verifiable parental consent; whether parents are really asking to see – and delete – their children's information; and whether the safe harbor programs under the Rule have helped compliance. Those interested in responding must do so by June 30, 2010, and the FTC will host a roundtable on the issue on June 2, 2010 at its conference center in DC.
TIP: This notice from the FTC suggests that it may be considering updating the COPPA Rule to address the applicability of the law to mobile phones, as well as addressing other portions of the law that have caused companies some concern over the years. If your company has interactions with children, it may be worth participating in the comment period. We will continue to monitor this issue, and report on any resulting new developments.