FTC Proposes Stronger COPPA Rules To Protect Children From Online Surveillance


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has put forth new proposals to enhance the protection of children from the surveillance practices prevalent in the digital landscape. The updated rules aim to require companies to obtain parental consent before sharing data with advertisers and to prohibit the retention of data for vague “internal operations,” among other crucial measures.

Key Takeaway

The FTC has proposed updates to the COPPA rules, aiming to strengthen the protection of children’s online privacy by imposing stricter regulations on data collection and usage, requiring parental consent, and closing loopholes that could lead to the exploitation of kids’ personal information.

FTC’s Proposed Changes to COPPA

  • Parental opt-in required for sharing any child’s information with third parties, unless deemed “integral” to the service.
  • Restriction of the “support for internal operations” loophole to prevent indefinite retention of kids’ data for purposes such as improving voice recognition models.
  • Stricter justification for “nudges,” such as push notifications, aimed at engaging children with online platforms.
  • Prohibition of coercing kids to provide personal data in exchange for using an app or feature.
  • Limitation on data retention beyond its originally stated purpose.
  • Authorization for edtech providers to collect and use students’ personal info by schools and school districts, solely for educational purposes.
  • Inclusion of biometrics within the definition of “personal information.”

The FTC’s proposal is based on feedback received from various stakeholders, including parents, educators, industry members, and researchers, as well as the agency’s extensive experience in enforcing COPPA over the past 23 years.

Public Input and Next Steps

The FTC will release a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), allowing the public to comment on the draft of the new COPPA rules for the next 60 days. The proposed changes are expected to address the evolving landscape of online privacy concerns, particularly regarding children’s data protection.

Support and Legislative Action

Senator Brian Schatz has expressed support for the FTC’s proposed updates, emphasizing the importance of implementing safeguards to protect young social media users from constant surveillance and manipulation. However, he also stressed the need for legislative action to establish comprehensive measures for safeguarding children’s online privacy.

While the FTC’s rules represent a significant step towards enhancing children’s online privacy, the urgency for legislative action to complement these regulations remains a focal point for ensuring robust and enduring protection for young internet users.

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