The Federal Trade Commission today moved to make a key children's online privacy law more up-to-date in a world of smartphones and social networks.
The agency has approved amendments to the regulations implementing the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, that would require apps and Web sites that target children to obtain parental consent before collecting geo-location information, or photos, videos or audio files that include a child's image or voice. The law was also expanded to cover services that track kids' online activity—namely, which sites they visit—and then give the information to third-parties, like advertisers.
"The Commission takes seriously its mandate to protect children's online privacy in this ever-changing technological landscape," said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz in a statement. "I am confident that the amendments to the COPPA Rule strike the right balance between protecting innovation that will provide rich and engaging content for children, and ensuring that parents are informed and involved in their children's online activities."