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Kids Internet Design and Safety Act Seeks to Protect Children from Harmful Online Content

United States Senators, Mr. Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut and Mr. Edward Markey from Massachusetts, introduced a new bill referred to as the Kids Internet Design and Safety Act (the “KIDS Act”). One of the Senator’s introducing the KIDS Act, Mr. Edward Markey, was the co-author of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”). The KIDS Act seeks to include noteworthy advertising rules and create new protections for children online, specifically for online users under the age of 16. The proposed advertising rules within the KIDS Act are to ban websites from: (1) exposing young online users to advertisements “with embedded interactive elements”; (2) recommending any content involving alcohol, nicotine, or tobacco to young online users; and (3) recommending content that includes influencer marketing, like unboxing videos, or host-selling to young online users. Additionally, the KIDS Act seeks to prohibit certain online features to protect children, like prohibiting: (1) “…
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New Bill, Kids PRIVCY Act, Seeks to Strengthen the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act

The PROTECT Kids Act Seeks to Amend the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act

On January 9, 2020, two United States House of Representatives, Mr. Tim Walberg of Michigan and Mr. Bobby Rush of Illinois, introduced a new bill to amend the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”). The new bill, H.R. 5573, can be cited as the “Preventing Real Online Threats Endangering Children Today” or “PROTECT Kids Act”. The PROTECT Kids Act seeks to make amendments and additions to COPPA, which would expand certain requirements.

Currently, COPPA requires that companies obtain verifiable parental consent for kids under the age of 13. The PROTECT Kids Act seeks to amend COPPA's age requirement and instead would define a child as under the age of 16. Additionally, the PROTECT Kids Act seeks to add language such as, “mobile application” within certain sections of COPPA to protect children’s privacy in mobile applications. Other additions to the PROTECT Kids Act include adding definitions of: (1) mobile application, (2) biometric information, and (3) precise geolocati…

CARU Submits Comments on the FTC COPPA Rule Review

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “Commission”) recently requested public comment on its implementation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”), through the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule (“COPPA Rule” or “the Rule”).

The Commission generally reviews its Rules every ten years to ensure that they have kept up with changes in the marketplace, technology, and business models. Although the Commission's last COPPA Rule review ended in 2013, the Commission decided to conduct its ten-year review early because of questions that have arisen about the Rule's application to the educational technology sector, to voice-enabled connected devices, and to general audience platforms that host third-party child-directed content. In addition to requesting comment on these issues, the Commission requested comments on the costs and benefits of the Rule, as well as on whether certain sections should be retained, eliminated, or modified.

After thoughtful co…

CARU Director, Dona J. Fraser to Speak at The Future of the COPPA Rule: An FTC Workshop

The Federal Trade Commission recently announced its agenda for its upcoming workshop: The Future of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU) was thrilled that its director, Dona J. Fraser was invited to speak on a panel about such an important topic. CARU is not only a safe harbor provider under COPPA but it was the first program to be deemed with the honor.

The COPPA Workshop will be held on October 7, 2019, at the Constitution Center, 400 7th St., SW, Washington, DC, and is free and open to anyone who wishes to join.  For those not in the area, the event will be webcast live via the FTC's website.
About the COPPA Workshop The Future of the COPPA Rule: An FTC Workshop will examine whether to update the COPPA Rule in light of evolving business practices in the online children’s marketplace, including the increased use of Internet of Things devices, social media, educational technology, and general audience platform…

Keeping it Under Control, Parental Control

Parental controls come in a variety of forms from content filters to limiting screen time. At their essence, parental controls enable parents to limit what their children can and cannot do with their devices or online services. While these controls focus on restricting use and access, parental controls cannot monitor exactly what your children see and post online (although there are third party services that do). In a perfect world, parental controls would be a “set it and forget it” deal. However, this is not the case. While parental controls can be useful, they don't completely eliminate parental responsibility. For instance, they are not a substitute for teaching children how to appropriately use their digital devices nor are they a substitute for “verifiable parental consent” (required by COPPA for any online service collecting personal information of a child under 13) even if the child is browsing with parental controls on. 
It's always a good reminder to follow up with yo…

Google Agrees to a Record Fine to Settle COPPA Investigation over YouTube

Google will pay a fine of $170 million dollars to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and New York State Attorney General to settle an investigation into alleged violations of the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by its subsidiary video sharing platform, YouTube. The amount of the settlement is the largest fine imposed by the FTC in a case involving children’s privacy. The record was set just earlier this year for $5.7 million by the app TikTok for children’s privacy violations (originally referred to the FTC by CARU!). The investigation concerned the collection of children’s personal data and user activity without the consent of their parents. This information was then utilized to target ads at children. COPPA prohibits online service providers, such as YouTube, from collecting personal data from children under the age of 13 without their parent’s permission. 
In addition to the fine, as part of the settlement, YouTube agreed to take further action to protect ch…