The Federal Trade Commission is considering revising rules surrounding the online collection of children's personal information due to the growing popularity of mobile Internet usage among young people.
The FTC's Children Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule imposes requirements on operators of websites or online services that are aimed at children under 13 years of age, or that knowingly collect personal information.
Among other things, COPPA requires online operators to notify parents and get their permission before collecting, using or disclosing personal information from children. It also requires the operators keep the information they collect from children secure, and prohibits them from requiring children to turn over any more personal information than is reasonably necessary to access their websites.
The FTC last reviewed the COPPA law in 2005 and believes changes to the online environment, including children's increasing use of mobile technology to access the Internet, warrant reexamining the law.
"The law hasn't looked at social media marketing or mobile and it hasn't really addressed the role of cookies or IP addresses in marketing to kids," said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a privacy advocate.
"This really sets the state for a new online battle for marketers and privacy advocates for what the rules should be for protecting kids online."
Among some of the questions the FTC is asking include:
Should online operators be able contact specific individuals using information collected from children online?
Can mobile geolocation data be collected from children in connection with behavioral advertising?