COPPA Protects The Online Privacy of Children Under The Age of 13

COPPA stands for the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule of 1998 (USC 15 USC 6501). This US regulation provides for the privacy protection of children under age 13. Specifically, website operators must obtain parental permission to obtain any personal information on the child. And the operator must their privacy policy for obtaining parental consent and how they protect children’s information.

The FTC provides the following overview of COPPA: “The primary goal of COPPA is to place parents in control over what information is collected from their young children online. The Rule was designed to protect children under age 13 while accounting for the dynamic nature of the Internet. The Rule applies to operators of commercial websites and online services (including mobile apps) directed to children under 13 that collect, use, or disclose personal information from children, and operators of general audience websites or online services with actual knowledge that they are collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from children under 13. The Rule also applies to websites or online services that have actual knowledge that they are collecting personal information directly from users of another website or online service directed to children.”

What are the key requirements of COPPA?

  1. Have parental consent for obtaining personal information of children under age 13.
  2. Post the privacy policy that details how consent is obtained and how information is protected.
  3. Provide parents with information on how their children’s information will be used and how to access the collected information.
  4. Only retain the child’s information as reasonably needed.

How does COPPA define personal information of children under 13?

  1. Name
  2. Address
  3. Videos, pictures or audio
  4. SSN
  5. Data elements that can be recombined to identify a child (age, sex, zip code)
  6. User names, unique identifiers, and location data

Here are additional resources to learn more about COPPA:

  1. Federal Trade Commission
  2. Electronic Privacy Information Center
  3. vidIQ

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