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FTC Poised to Allow More Online Access for the Under 13 Crowd

TwitteravatarThe FTC has recently developed new guidelines to strengthen kids privacy and allow parents greater control over their kids’ information.  The change to COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) take place in July of 2013.  They’re really trying to keep up with the times because users have so many more ways to get online and kids are learning more about computers earlier and earlier.  In talking with some 4th and 5th teachers at the school where I help out as a part time Educational Technology Director, they’ve related stories of the knowledge and capabilities increases of their kids from as little as 5 years ago to today.  Things like Powerpoint from Microsoft Office to networking and hardware.  Kids are learning how to use hardware and software earlier now.  So, it makes sense that the FTC is taking this into account and allowing kids to get online sooner and parents to have more control over this.

The high points of these changes from the FTC website are as follows:

  • modify the list of “personal information”  that cannot be collected without parental notice and consent, clarifying that this category includes geolocation information, photographs, and videos;
  • offer companies a streamlined, voluntary and transparent approval process for new ways of getting parental consent;
  • close a loophole that allowed kid-directed apps and websites to permit third parties to collect personal information from children through plug-ins without parental notice and consent;
  • extend coverage in some of those cases so that the third parties doing the additional collection also have to comply with COPPA;
  • extend the COPPA Rule to cover persistent identifiers that can recognize users over time and across different websites or online services, such as IP addresses and mobile device IDs;
  • strengthen data security protections by requiring that covered website operators and online service providers take reasonable steps to release children’s personal information only to companies that are capable of keeping it secure and confidential;
  • require that covered website operators adopt reasonable procedures for data retention and deletion; and
  • strengthen the FTC’s oversight of self-regulatory safe harbor programs.

You can read the entire COPPA rules modifications here.

My friend Anne has a good summary and description here.

Source: United States Federal Trade Commission, www.ftc.gov