FTC Changes COPPA FAQ To Provide New Guidance On Consent And Data Collection In Educational Settings

by Holland & Knight LLP
Contact

[author: Peter Ormerod]

Peter Ormerod
Peter Ormerod

On April 22, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) updated its "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQ) website to provide additional information on how operators can collect students' personal information—in compliance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) — when  consent is obtained in the educational setting from entities or individuals other than the child's parents.

In general, COPPA forbids online services from collecting data on children under 13 without verified parental consent. A previous post on this blog discussing approved methods for obtaining verified parental consent under COPPA is available here.

This general prohibition, however, has generated significant uncertainty in the educational context.1 In a blog post announcing the updates, FTC senior attorney Lesley Fair wrote: "[E]ducators, administrators, and parents have been asking an important question: How do the protections of [COPPA] and the accompanying FTC rule apply in the school setting?"2

The updated COPPA FAQ seeks to answer this and related questions, and it is available here

The FAQ previously contained four questions and responses within the section titled "M. COPPA AND SCHOOLS."3 The updated FAQ adds two questions and responses, and also revises the four existing questions.4

The Two New Questions & Responses

In the new portions of the FAQ, the Commission clarifies who should be responsible for providing consent on behalf of students whose data is being collected by online services used in schools; addresses the role parents should play; and provides guidance on best practices.5

The FTC recommends that schools or school districts should be responsible for determining whether a particular online service (and the service's information practices) are appropriate—rather than leaving that decision to individual teachers.6 The Commission also suggests schools consider providing parents with a list of the websites and online services that the school has provided consent to collect students' information on behalf of the parents.7

The updated FAQ further advises schools to make operators' information collection and use policies available to interested parties.8

Revisions to the Four Previous Questions & Responses

The FTC revised one of the FAQ's existing questions to clarify that the school's authority to provide consent on behalf of a parent is constrained to information used in the educational context—and not for other commercial purposes.9 The Commission also clarified that website operators must comply with the statute's notice and consent requirements whether they obtain permission from a school or from a parent.10    

Finally, the guidance reminds schools that they have additional obligations under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records.11 Unlike COPPA, FERPA is administered by the U.S. Department of Education.12

Notes

1 See Leslie Fair, "New COPPA FAQs can help schools make the grade," Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Business Center Blog, Apr. 23, 2014,  12:32 PM, http://www.business.ftc.gov/blog/2014/04/new-coppa-faqs-can-help-schools-make-grade.

2 Id.

3 See Allison Grande, "COPPA Guide Updated To Tackle Student Privacy Concerns," Law360, Apr. 23, 2014, 6:56 PM ET, http://www.law360.com/privacy/articles/531076 [hereinafter "Law360 Article"].

4 See id.

5 See Federal Trade Commission, "Complying with COPPA: Frequently Asked Questions," Bureau of Consumer Protection, "M. COPPA AND SCHOOLS" (revised April 2014), http://www.business.ftc.gov/documents/0493-Complying-with-COPPA-Frequently-Asked-Questions#Schools [hereinafter "Updated COPPA FAQ"].

6 See id.

7 See id.

8 See id.

9 See Updated COPPA FAQ, supra note 4; Law360 Article, supra note 2.

10 See Updated COPPA FAQ, supra note 4; Law360 Article, supra note 2.

11 See Updated COPPA FAQ, supra note 4; Law360 Article, supra note 2.

12 See Law360 Article, supra note 2.

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.

© Holland & Knight LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Holland & Knight LLP
Contact
more
less

Holland & Knight 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.
Custom Email Digest
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.