Online child privacy laws are undergoing an overhaul by the Federal Trade Commission. A representative for the agency said most of the changes will apply to mobile internet use and social networking. Other major changes will affect how personal data is allowed to be collected from children.
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) is quite outdated. It was originally drawn up more than 10 years ago, so this new version of the bill deals more with internet-related issues that exist today but not a decade ago. Among the changes made by the FTC is an expansion of the type of information that’s considered to be personal. Apps that are designed for children now must have the consent of parents before they can collect photographs, the child’s geographical location or videos. They also must receive parental consent before tracking what a child does online and giving that information to third parties.
A report in The Wall Street Journal said the FTC’s initial changes to the law would have held major tech giants like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) “more responsible for violations.” However pressure from the tech industry caused the agency to reconsider its changes. The original changes to the law were proposed in August. However the FTC has now revised its changes so that app stores like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iTunes store and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Android App store will no longer be held responsible for violations of privacy that are perpetrated by the apps sold in those stores.
The revised changes also say that Facebook’s “Like” button and certain types of other ads will only have to follow the law if the companies “have ‘actual knowledge’ that they’re collecting information through a website or app that targets kids.”
The FTC’s changes to the COPPA law will become effective July 1.