TIA to Submit Comments on Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule

As previously reported to TIA members, the Federal Trade Commission has issued a call for public comments on its implementation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) through the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule.  The Toy Industry Association (TIA), under the joint leadership of its Responsible Marketing to Children Subcommittee and the Federal Government Affairs Committee, along with the assistance of outside counsel, has finalized a set of written comments that it will submit on behalf of the toy industry.  

The COPPA Rule was enacted in April 2000 and requires Web site operators to obtain parental consent before collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from children under 13. It also requires that the operators keep the information they collect from children secure, and prohibits them from requiring children to turn over any more personal information than is reasonably necessary to participate in activities on their Web sites. Normally reviewed on a ten-year schedule, early consideration of an update has been prompted by rapidly changing technology such as the increased use of smartphones and other devices to access websites and online services, as well as new methods for collecting and using information online. 

“TIA has long been an advocate of sound and sensible measures to protect children’s privacy and safety online,” said Carter Keithley, TIA president.  “Nothing is more important to our members than the safety of children and the trust of their parents.”

In its response, TIA indicated its belief that the COPPA Rule has worked well to protect children’s online privacy and that changes to the Rule should not be made lightly.  Any modifications must offer substantial privacy and safety benefits to both children and their parents without undue burdens on operators. TIA’s comments also suggested that all the parental consent mechanisms currently recognized in the COPPA Rule remain necessary and valid. 

Responses were provided to questions posted by the FTC in ten major subject areas.

“The COPPA Rule has been effective in protecting children,” stated Keithley.  “Any changes to the COPPA Rule must be thoroughly examined to be sure they are consistent with the statute, reflect sound public policy, are technologically appropriate, and can be implemented in a common sense manner.  The costs and benefits of any changes must be weighed to avoid any unnecessary and unintended adverse effects on both consumers and on companies that must comply.”

TIA’s comments will be submitted on Wednesday, June 30th … the posted deadline for input. 

Questions regarding the Association’s input can be directed to Elizabeth Borrelli (646.454.5588).