FTC Issues its Revised COPPA Rule

by Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP
Contact

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has announced its amended Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) Rule, which becomes effective July 1, 2013.

The FTC’s COPPA Rule imposes specific requirements on websites and online services directed to children under 13.  The revised COPPA Rule leaves in place most of its principal existing features, including that such sites and services must (a) post a clear and comprehensive privacy policy concerning children’s “personal information”, (b) give direct notice to parents and get their verifiable consent before collecting, using or disclosing personal information from children under 13, (c) give parents options to limit or prohibit use of such information, and to periodically review and update their choices on those options, and (d) maintain the confidentiality and security of information collected from children.  For more on the FTC’s enforcement of COPPA rules, click here.

In 2010, the FTC initiated a review of its existing COPPA Rule to “keep up with evolving technology and changes in the way children use and access the Internet, including the increased use of mobile devices and social networking”.  Following such review, the FTC posted its proposed amendments and then allowed an extended period for public comments.

As announced by the FTC, the principal changes to the COPPA Rule are:

  1. Businesses Covered by COPPA:  The Rule has been revised to expressly cover (a) any child-directed site or service that integrates outside services, such as plug-ins or advertising networks, that collect personal information from visitors, and (b) those outside plug-in or ad network services that have actual knowledge they are collecting personal information through a child-directed website or online service.  The existing Rule requires that sites and services whose “primary target audience” is children must give notice to and obtain consent from parents of all users under 13.  This now has been expanded to require that sites and services “that target children only as a secondary audience or to a lesser degree” must provide notice and obtain parental consent for users who identify themselves as being younger than 13.
  2. Personal Information”:  This key definition has been expanded to include “geolocation information, as well as photos, videos, and audio files that contain a child’s image or voice”.  The Rule now also covers “persistent identifiers” that can be used to recognize users over time and across different websites or online services (unless the operator’s sole purpose is to support its own internal operations, such as for payment and delivery functions, spam protection, and statistical reporting).  The FTC made clear that while use of “persistent identifiers” to collect and retain data about the consumer’s online activities over time requires parental consent, using them to enable “the delivery of advertisements based upon a consumer’s current visit to a web page or single search query” is permissible without consent.
  3. Obtaining Parental Consent:  The FTC has added several new methods that operators can use to obtain verifiable parental consent:  electronic scans of the signed consent forms; video-conferencing; use of government-issued identifications; and alternative payment systems, such as debit cards and electronic payment systems, provided they meet certain criteria.  Operators that collect children’s personal information for internal use only may obtain consent through an email from the parent, as long as the operator confirms such consent by sending a delayed email of confirmation or calling or sending a letter to the parent.  The FTC has also established a voluntary 120 day notice and comment process so parties can seek approval of additional consent methods.
  4. Confidentiality and Security Requirements:  The amendments require covered websites and online services to take reasonable steps to make sure that children’s personal information is released only to service providers and third parties that are capable of maintaining the confidentiality, security and integrity of the information, and to give suitable assurances they will do so.  The information may be retained only as long as is reasonably necessary, and the operators must protect against unauthorized access or use.
  5. Self-Regulatory Safe Harbors:  The FTC is also requiring that the approved self-regulatory “safe harbor” programs audit their members and report annually to the FTC the aggregated results of those audits.

For more information on the new COPPA Rule, visit the FTC’s website here.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP
Contact
more
less

Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.
Feedback? Tell us what you think of the new jdsupra.com!