On August 1, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) proposed clarifications to its previously proposed revisions to its rule implementing the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”). Although the FTC’s stated goals are to clarify COPPA’s scope and strengthen protections for children, as a practical matter, the FTC’s proposals would generally continue its expansion of COPPA’s coverage and obligations. Not only would the proposals sweep additional online services, such as ad networks and social network plug-ins, into the law’s coverage, as well as codify an age-screening obligation for certain sites, but they would also eliminate the distinctions between “personal” and “non-personal” information—an outcome that raises issues even for companies that are not subject to COPPA because they do not target or collect personal information from children.
Specifically, as discussed in more detail below, the new revisions would...
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