FTC Proposes Significant Changes to the Online Collection of Information from Children rule

The Federal Trade Commission (“Commission”) released on September 15, 2011, its long-awaited proposed amendments to its rule implementing the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA Rule”). They are accepting comments until November 28, 2011.

The Commission is proposing modifications to the COPPA Rule in three key facets:

  1. Expanding the definition of “Personal Information,” and therefore the scope of the COPPA Rule, including to the use of cookies for purposes other than support for the internal operations of the site or service;
  2. Altering the parental notice provisions and eliminating one commonly used consent mechanism; and
  3. Imposing new data security requirements, including pass-through obligations and limits on data retention.

The Commission normally follows a ten-year revision cycle however, in light of the rapid advancement of mobile technologies and adoption by children of these mobile platforms supporting gaming and social networking applications, the rules are scheduled for an early update.