FTC Offers FAQ Guide for Revised COPPA Rule

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A 92-question and answer guide is available from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to help businesses and parents understand the new rule for the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which go into effect July 1, 2013.

The rule, adopted in December 2012, expands the types of information about children under 13 that require parental permission before websites, apps, social networks, online gaming platforms, and other online services may collect and use such information.

The amended rule considers photographs, videos, and audio recordings that contain a child’s image or voice to be personal information, which require parental consent before it can be collected. The rule also applies to geolocation data contained in these files if it can be used to identify the street name and name of a city or town.

The Q&A guide, prepared by the FTC staff, is intended to supplement the new rule but the examples are not binding on the Commission. The questions cover such topics as:

• What information must I include in my online privacy policy?

• Is it okay for the link to my privacy policy to be located at the bottom of the home page of my Web site?

• When I send a direct notice to parents, may I send them a simple email containing a link to my online privacy policy?

• I want to run ads on my child-directed Web sites and apps. What do I need to know to make sure that I am complying with COPPA?

• I have no idea what information the third parties whose content I have embedded in my kids’ app might collect from my users. Do I need to know this information?

• I automatically collect geolocation information from users of my children’s app, but I do not use this information for anything. Am I responsible for notifying parents and getting their consent to such collection?

• What happens if a child posts in a forum and announces her age?

A copy of the Frequently Asked Questions guide is available at: http://business.ftc.gov/documents/Complying-with-COPPA-Frequently-Asked-Questions

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