Update Urged on Children’s Online Privacy
Aiming to catch up with fast-churning technology that touches children’s lives every day, the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday proposed long-awaited changes to regulations covering online privacy for children.
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or Coppa, was enacted over a decade ago, long before the advent of social media and smartphones. It requires companies to obtain parental consent before collecting any personal information about a child under the age of 13.
The F.T.C. also suggested that parental consent should no longer be obtained through a two-step e-mail and authorization process, but through alternate methods, like getting scanned versions of signed consent forms and videoconferencing.
The commission said revisions to the law were required in light of “an explosion in children’s use of mobile devices, the proliferation of online social networking and interactive gaming.” Its chairman, Jon Leibowitz, described children as “tech-savvy, but judgment-poor.”