FTC to Step Up Enforcement of Kids Online Privacy Rules

FTC to Step Up Enforcement of Kids Online Privacy Rules


The Federal Trade Commission unanimously approved a policy statement on Thursday calling for an increase in the implementation of the Child Online Privacy Protection Act with respect to software and devices used by millions of children in school. .

The statement does not change the FTC’s policies regarding the collection of data on children, but calls for prioritizing the implementation of the 20-year-old COPPA in relation to educational technology.

Digital and child privacy advocates have long called for the law, which was last revised in 2012, to be updated to better reflect current technology data collection practices. The push intensified during the pandemic, as many children were forced to switch to e-learning, dramatically increasing the amount of time they spent online, as well as the amount of personal information collected as they completed. their homework.

FTC President Lina Khan says the statement emphasizes that children have a right to be educated without having to “surrender to the surveillance” of technology companies. He added that there are early indications that some technology companies may be collecting much more data than they need, which creates the risk that some students may be profiled and targeted if such data is ever exposed in an infringement.

According to the COPPA, companies cannot collect data from children without the consent of their parents, but must give children access to educational technologies even if parents or schools reject the request of companies to collect certain information.

Businesses may also not use data collected on children for commercial purposes such as marketing or advertising. Any stored data must be adequately protected against possible theft and companies may not retain children’s data longer than necessary.

Some of the commissioners said the FTC should do more to protect children’s privacy by enforcing its own rules. An FTC revision of the COPPA standard has been underway since 2019.

Commissioner Christine Wilson said that if the statement encourages some companies to review and revise their practices voluntarily, that’s great. But he said he was concerned that he might be happy that the FTC is taking action.

“Hopefully, we move on to the important task of completing the rule review,” he said, adding that he urges the FTC to “prioritize and complete it quickly.”



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