Archive: November 2011

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FTC Proposes Major Expansion to COPPA’s Scope and Compliance Requirements
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House Passes Wireless Tax Fairness Act of 2011
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FTC Settles Privacy Case Against Children’s Social Networking Site

FTC Proposes Major Expansion to COPPA’s Scope and Compliance Requirements

Update (11/22/11): The FTC extended the deadline for comments on the proposed COPPA reforms until December 23, 2011, citing the complexity of the questions and issues raised by the proposed amendments. The original comment deadline was November 28, 2011.

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The Federal Trade Commission recently announced a set of proposed revisions to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) which would expand the Act’s application to a greater number of websites and online services. COPPA requires that website operators notify parents and obtain parental consent before they collect, use, or disclose personal information from individuals under 13 years of age. Specifically, the proposed rules would expand the definition of personal information to include so-called “persistent identifiers,” which represent unique user identification information obtained for purposes other than for the support of the internal operations of a website or online service. The new rules would also extend COPPA protections to photographs, videos, or audio files that include a child’s image or voice. The FTC will consider a wider range of factors, including whether a website includes child celebrities and music content, when determining whether the site or online service is directed to children. The proposed rules rejected a number of alternative means of obtaining parental consent proposed by stakeholders and declined to establish a safe harbor for websites and online services which follow best practices guidelines issued by the Direct Marketing Association.

A K&L Gates Client Alert providing a detailed summary of the FTC’s proposed COPPA revisions and an analysis of the potential impacts of the reforms on websites and online services may be found here.

House Passes Wireless Tax Fairness Act of 2011

By Pat Heck, Mike Evans, Mary Baker, Cindy O’Malley, Karishma Page, and John Godfrey

Earlier this month, the House passed H.R. 1002, the “Wireless Tax Fairness Act of 2011,” which would impose a temporary, five-year moratorium on new taxes or fees that discriminate against mobile services. The bill, which was introduced by Congressman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ) and had the support of 235 cosponsors, passed by voice vote under suspension of the rules.

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FTC Settles Privacy Case Against Children’s Social Networking Site

The Federal Trade Commission recently announced its settlement with the operator of www.skidekids.com, a social media website marketed as the “Facebook and Myspace for kids.” The FTC claimed that the website collected personal information from approximately 5,600 children without parent consent in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”). COPPA requires that website operators notify parents and obtain parental consent before they collect, use, or disclose personal information from individuals under 13 years of age. The agency also alleged that the website’s operator made deceptive claims regarding the website’s privacy policy and information collection practices.

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