Tuesday, July 02, 2013

New COPPA online child protection rules in effect

“New rules aimed at protecting children using the Internet -- updates making the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) more relevant in the social media and mobile phone age, though placing some additional burdens on companies targeting kids under 13 – went into effect Monday morning over objections from industry groups which had recently requested a postponement," MSNBC.com reports this morning.

“Congress passed the original COPPA law in 1998, long before services like Twitter or Facebook existed,” the article said, “The Federal Trade Commission in charge of keeping it current -- industry groups went sour on the changes from the minute the FTC proposed them last year. The Interactive Advertising Bureau, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and several other groups made a last-ditch attempt this spring to convince the FTC to postpone implementation of the changes for six months in order to prepare for the update, but, in a letter dated May 6, the FTC rejected the request, essentially saying the groups had plenty of time to get ready. It did signaled, however, that it would go easy on enforcement for awhile.”

While the changes might not be enforced immediately, or noticed by users, the Center for Democracy and Technology has already begin a public effort to make sure the new rules have some bite, sending a letter to dozens of partner organizations asking that they police the Web watching for COPPA violations.

The Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection Business Center has a “frequently asked questions” GUIDE FOR BUSINESS, PARENTS & SMALL ENTITY COMPLIANCE” on its website, as well as additional information and copies of the new rules.

[ Wikipedia adds the cautionary note, too, not to confuse the current law, Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), with the now defunct Child Online Protection Act, abbreviated "COPA" ]

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