The Federal Trade Commission is requesting comments and input on the effectiveness of the 2013 amendments it made to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule. Although the FTC typically reviews its rules every ten years, it is doing so early because of rapid changes in and children’s expanded use of technology. Part of the input it is seeking is whether the COPPA Rule should be updated again. Among the specific input the FTC has requested, it wants to know if companies and other interested parties believe that the Rule should be amended to include websites and online services that are not directed at children but have large numbers of child users.

The COPPA Rule first went into effect in 2000 to implement the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. COPPA requires online service providers that collect personal information from children under 13 to obtain parental consent before collecting information from children online. The 2013 Rule updates were aimed at keeping the law current with technological changes and children’s increased use of mobile devices and phones. Among other things, the 2013 amendments expanded the definition of personal information to include persistent identifiers such as cookies that track a child’s activity online, geolocation data, photos, videos and audio recordings.

A public workshop to discuss the progress of, and potential changes to the COPPA Rule, will be held by the FTC on October 7, 2019. Written comments must be filed with the FTC 90 days after the notice is published in the Federal Register, which is expected soon.

Putting it into Practice. Companies interested can submit comments to the FTC, or participate in the October 7, 2019 workshop.