FTC Strengthens Online Privacy Laws for Children
December 19, 2012
New rules from the Federal Trade Commission make it more difficult for Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other online entities to gain personal information about children.
The rules, a major revision to the 1998 Children Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), require a parent's permission before children under 13 can release such things as photographs, videos, and geolocation can be released to social media and other mobile and online receptors. The requirement extends to IP addresses and mobile device ID numbers as well.
One focus of the new rules is closing a loophole that had allowed third-party providers, notably online advertisers, gain personal information without permission or either child or parent.
The rules augment existing parental consent methods to include electronic scans of signed consent forms and videoconferencing options for giving verbal consent.
Facebook, Google, and even Disney and makers of educational apps for mobile phones have been in opposition to such rules in the past.
Under the new rules, online companies must also maintain ownership of children's personal information only as long as necessary and also release that information only to known sources of security.
The new rules take effect July 1, 2013.