Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act

We’ve mentioned the proposed changes to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule before, which are currently under consideration by the FTC. The changes to COPPA, as it’s known for short, would require sites that collect personal information from children to secure written parental consent first. On first glance, it seems like a slam dunk: why wouldn’t we want to protect children’s privacy, and maybe put a dent in the absurd amount of tracking that constantly happens whenever anyone goes online?

Oh right, I forgot one little detail: free speech!

Facebook is protesting parts of the rule, because the company says it would restrict the free speech of pre-teens who want to “like” articles online. Because heaven forbid children who technically aren’t even supposed to use Facebook have to voice approval in a manner that doesn’t involve clicking a little blue thumbs-up button….

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Before you could turn a little bit of a blind eye (to children on websites like Facebook) but if this rule is adopted as proposed it will be significantly harder to do that.

– an anonymous privacy attorney, discussing the FTC’s proposed revision to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule. The revision would explicitly make websites, mobile apps, and data brokers all responsible for third-party data collected about children.