FTC to announce new measures for the underage online

Marc Sanchez Aug 1, 2012

The Federal Trade Commission is set to announce new rules today that strengthen current protection of minors on the Internet. Let’s be very clear here, this has nothing to do with sites advertising Cash4Gold  or that Craigslist posting about a sweet piece of land your uncle forwarded to you with the subject line that read: “you in?” No, that’s miners on the Internet.
The new FTC rules will be aimed at closing loopholes in the Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which was written before the days of snooping Like buttons and mobile apps. The commission is concerned with different ways these emerging technologies can gather information on your kids. From the Wall Street Journal:

Under the proposed rules, which could go into effect after a 30-day comment period:
• Third parties like advertising networks or Facebook that know or have reason to know they are attaching software to children’s websites won’t be allowed to collect any personal information without first obtaining parental consent. Currently, many websites secure consent by sending an email to an address provided by the child.
• Those third parties will be responsible for any unlawful data collection. The rules will also make the host website responsible for those infractions.
• The FTC will tighten proposed rules prohibiting advertising to children based on their previous online behavior.
Sounds like common sense stuff, but with these rules written in stone, the FTC will have better grounds to fine companies who might be in violation. Advertisers and companies like Facebook think there are already enough rules in place. Again from the Journal:
Facebook, in a filing with the FTC in December, spent four pages arguing that software such as its “Like” button should be exempt from Coppa. Data gathered by such software isn’t used to target ads based on users’ behavior, Facebook said. Exempting the software from Coppa, Facebook said, “would create more legal certainty for operators and facilitate the development of innovative, engaging online content for teens.”

See “teens,” if it wasn’t for that pesky government, you would all be having a great time being engaged with Facebook content. Instead you’re bored, bored, bored, bored, bored.

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