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The FTC Is Overhauling Online Child Privacy Law

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The FTC has announced that it is broadening—now incredibly outdated—laws surrounding online child privacy. The changes will, in particular, make the regulations applicable to the mobile and social digital world we now inhabit.

The changes will be made to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which was originally put together all the way back in 1998. The updated version will now take into account social networks and smartphone apps. There are also set to be changes to the way personal data can be collected from children. From the Wall Street Journal:

Kids' apps and websites will now have to obtain parental consent before gathering photos, videos or geographic location, and before tracking kids' online behavior and passing along the data to other companies.


The new rules go into effect on July 1st next year. Despite earlier proposals to the contrary, the FTC has explicitly stated that app stores are exempt from responsibility for privacy violations by software sold on them. As a result, expect to see a push from advocacy groups that aims—but struggles—to make the likes of Apple and Google more accountable. [Wall Street Journal]

Image by flickingerbrad under Creative Commons license