As the deadline to submit comments to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on its proposed rulemaking on the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) ends today, Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), House author of COPPA, sent a letter commending the Commission for proposed changes to strengthen the regulations stemming from the landmark law and calling for updates to it for the 21st century. Specifically, Rep. Markey offered support for the FTC's proposals to ensure privacy protections expand to include mobile devices, geolocation-based services and Internet-connected games. Rep. Markey also highlighted the FTC's supplemental proposal to clarify that website directed to children and third parties also must be COPPA compliant. Reps. Markey and Joe Barton (R-Texas) have introduced the "Do Not Track Kids Act' to update COPPA for the 21st century, including prohibition of targeted advertising to children and teens 15 and younger, and ensuring kids and parents have an eraser button to delete their personal information online.
"I believe the rapid change in technological development has made it more important than ever for the FTC to protect the privacy of children under COPPA and ensure that parents can make meaningful decisions to look after their kids," writes Rep. Markey, co-Chair of the Bi-Partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus, in the letter to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. "While the FTC's proposed changes are an important step, Congress must also take action to ensure that children and teens are fully protected when they go online."
Written in 1998, COPPA is the law that applies to operators of websites directed to children age 12 and younger that collect, use, or disclose personal information from children, or operators of general audience websites with actual knowledge they collect, use, or disclose personal information from children under 13.