As part of the Federal Trade Commission's ("FTC")
efforts to update the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule
("COPPA"), the FTC has proposed to further modify the Rule to
clarify its scope and strengthen its protections for children's
personal information. These proposed revisions follow
comments previously received by the FTC back in
2011. Specifically, the FTC is proposing the following
additional changes to the rule:
Clarify that an "operator" of a child-directed site
or service that chooses to integrate the services of others that
collect personal information from its visitors should itself be
considered a covered "operator" under COPPA;
Clarify the definition of "Personal information" to
make clear that a screen or user name will be considered personal
information only in those instances in which it rises to the level
of online contact information and permits direct contact with a
person online, functioning much like an email address or an instant
Clarify that activities such as site maintenance and analysis,
performing network communications, use of persistent identifiers
for authenticating users, maintaining user preferences, serving
contextual advertisements, and protecting against fraud and theft
will not be considered collection of "personal
information" as long as the information collected is not used
or disclosed to contact a specific individual, including through
the use of behaviorally targeted advertising, or for any other
Expand the definition of "website or online service
directed to children" to clarify that a plug-in or ad network
is covered by COPPA when it knows or has reason to know that it is
collecting personal information through a child-directed website or
online service; and
Address mixed audience websites and allow such sites to
age-screen all visitors in order to provide COPPA''s
protections only to users under age 13. However,
child-directed sites or services that knowingly target children
under 13 as their primary audience or whose overall content is
likely to attract children under age 13 as their primary audience
must still treat all users as children.
Written comments regarding the proposed revisions must be
submitted by September 10, 2012. Written comments may be sent
to: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-113
(Annex E), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580.
Comments may also be filed electronically here.
This alert provides general coverage of its subject area. We
provide it with the understanding that Frankfurt Kurnit Klein &
Selz is not engaged herein in rendering legal advice, and shall not
be liable for any damages resulting from any error, inaccuracy, or
omission. Our attorneys practice law only in jurisdictions in which
they are properly authorized to do so. We do not seek to represent
clients in other jurisdictions.
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