The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has proposed amendments to rules issued under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which requires the owners and operators of Websites intended for children younger than age 13 to obtain “verifiable consent from parents before collecting, using, or disclosing such information from children.” The amendments apparently seek to address recent changes in how children access the Internet as well as innovations in social media and other online services. According to a September 15, 2011, FTC press release, the proposal would modify the COPPA rule in five areas: (i) “definitions, including the definitions of ‘personal information’ and ‘collection’”; (ii) “parental notice”; (iii) “parental consent mechanisms”; (iv) “confidentiality and security of children’s personal information”; and (v) “the role of self-regulatory ‘safe harbor’ programs.”
“In this era of rapid technological change, kids are often tech savvy but judgment poor. We want to ensure that the COPPA Rule is effective in helping parents protect their children online, without unnecessarily burdening online businesses. We look forward to the continuing thoughtful input from industry, children’s advocates, and other stakeholders as we work to update the Rule,” said FTC Chair Jon Leibowitz. The agency will accept comments on the proposed amendments until November 28, 2011.