The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) was enacted to place parents in control over what information is collected, used and disclosed from young children online. COPPA applies to operators of commercial websites and online services directed to children under the age of thirteen that collect, use, or disclose personal information from children, and to operators of general audience websites or online services with actual knowledge that they are collecting, using or disclosing personal information from children under thirteen. On December 19, 2012, The FTC announced the adoption of its long-awaited amendments to COPPA. The updates are primarily aimed at mobile privacy, but are intended to reflect the FTC’s commitment to “helping to create a safer, more secure online experience for children” in the face of rapid technological change. The amended rule will be effective July 1, 2013.
The Video Privacy Protection Act (the “VPPA”) prevents disclosure of personally identifiable rental records of “prerecorded video cassette tapes or similar audio visual material.” On January 10, 2013, President Obama signed into law amendments to the VPPA that facilitate social media sharing of video viewing preferences when users consent to disclosure of information via the Internet. The amendments provide that a consumer’s written consent can now be obtained through electronic means using the Internet, provided that the consent is in a “form separate and distinct from any form setting forth other legal or financial obligations of the consumer.”
This article discussing these two important federal privacy laws was originally published by The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel.