Newer Stricter Online Privacy Rules for Children

By Carlos Olivera December 20, 2012

On Wednesday, federal regulators ruled to broaden the longstanding privacy rules covering children’s websites and mobile applications. The ruling, which expands on the Children’s Online Privacy protection Act of 1998, or Coppa, will give parents more control over the data that is collected about their children.

Coppa was introduced in 1998 and stated that if an operator of a website wanted to obtain any personal information from a child under the age of 13 - like first and last names, phone numbers, home addresses or e-mail addresses- the parents must be notified beforehand and consent to the release of the information.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the updated rules are trying to keep pace with the growing use of mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, by children, with the intent for parents to prevent unwanted contact from strangers.

Image via Shutterstock 

“The Commission takes seriously its mandate to protect children’s online privacy in this ever-changing technological landscape,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz.  “I am confident that the amendments to the COPPA Rule strike the right balance between protecting innovation that will provide rich and engaging content for children, and ensuring that parents are informed and involved in their children’s online activities.”

With so many new applications for photo sharing and other apps asking to use your location, the FTC modified what constitutes personal information to include geolocation information, photographs, and videos.

The new rules also offers companies a more streamlined, voluntary and transparent approval process for getting parental consent, which also received a few modifications. The new methods for obtaining parental consent now include electronic scans of signed parental consent forms, use of government issued identification, video-conferencing, and alternative payment systems like debit cards and electronic payment systems. 

The confidentiality and security requirements were also updated stating that operators must retain the personal information for only as long as is necessary and must protect the information against unauthorized use or access during the disposal process.

The modified rules are a big step moving forward to not only safeguard a child’s personal information, but also gives parents more control over what online content their child is viewing.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

TechZone360 Content Producer

Related Articles

Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk Square Off on Rocket Firsts

By: Doug Mohney    11/25/2015

On Monday, November 23, Blue Origin successfully flew the first fully reusable rocket into space, giving the company first bragging rights. Founder Je…

Read More

Autonomous Car Technology Takes New Leap Forward With Ford, Uber

By: Larry Alton    11/24/2015

The age of the self-driving car is nearly upon us, or at least that's what major technology and automotive companies are hoping. There have been major…

Read More

Unusual but Fun Tech Ideas for 2015

By: Rob Enderle    11/24/2015

Well, it's the week of the big sales, and many of us are planning to buy that special someone a special something. I figured I'd join my peers and poi…

Read More

Locus Telecommunications is Challenging the FCC's Authority, Claiming Due Process Violations

By: Special Guest    11/24/2015

One of a handful of prepaid calling card companies slapped with a $5 million fine by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) for its…

Read More

Kaspersky: Three Out of Four Users Have Trouble Spotting Big Threats

By: Steve Anderson    11/23/2015

We all know that spending on cybersecurity has been on the rise lately, as everyone from major corporations to military groups ramp up their cyberdefe…

Read More