FTC beefs up online protections for kids

Dec. 19, 2012 at 5:28 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- The U.S. Federal Trade Commission says it's strengthening privacy protection for kids online and giving parents more control of children's Internet activities.

Final amendments to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule will give parents greater control over the personal information websites and online services may collect from children under 13, an FTC release said Wednesday.

The FTC initiated a review in 2010 to ensure the rule keeps up with changes in the way children use and access the Internet, especially with the increased use of mobile devices and social networking.

"The Commission takes seriously its mandate to protect children's online privacy in this ever-changing technological landscape," FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said. "I am confident that the amendments to the COPPA Rule strike the right balance between protecting innovation that will provide rich and engaging content for children, and ensuring that parents are informed and involved in their children's online activities."

The amendments expand the kinds of "personal information" that cannot be collected without parental notice and consent to include geolocation information, photographs and videos, the FTC said.

They also close a loophole that allowed kid-directed apps and websites to permit third parties to collect personal information from children through plug-ins without parental notice and consent, the commission said.

The amendments are set to go into effect July 1, 2013.

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