The Federal Trade Commission announced that it is publishing a Request for Public Comment seeking feedback from the public on the effectiveness of the 2013 amendments to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection (“COPPA”) Rule. The COPPA Rule, effective in 2000 and revised in 2013, imposes requirements on operators of websites and other online services that are directed to, or collect information from, children under the age of 13. The Rule requires, among other things, that operators provide notice to, and obtain affirmative consent from, parents before collecting, using or disclosing children’s personal information, and that operators secure the information they collect about children.
The FTC explained in its announcement that it had elected to conduct a review of the rule four years earlier than customary in light of the rapidly evolving online environment for children in the educational technology sector, to voice-enabled connected devices, and to general audience platforms that host third-party child-directed content. The FTC is asking specifically whether certain exceptions to parental consent are warranted, and whether general audience platforms should be allowed to rebut the presumption that all users interacting with the child-directed content are in fact children.
Comments will be due within 90 days after publication of the Request in the Federal Register.