In the US, the Federal Trade Commission has put forward new legislation within the framework of COPPA, specifically barring online service providers from collecting personal information from children.COPPA
(the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act) was passed in the year 2000 but is the subject of frequent discussions regarding revisions and updates. It already bans sites from knowingly collecting personal information from those aged under 13 without parental consent, with the FTC left to define the key terms. The Commission has previously said that the law applies to sites geared to children, plus general interest sites aware that they were collecting data from children. The new proposal would extend the requirement to all third parties collecting data, including those using social media plug-ins.
The proposal states: ‘The Commission now believes that the most effective way to implement the intent of Congress is to hold both the child-directed site or service and the information-collecting site or service responsible as covered co-operators.’
One factor in the move may be the closure earlier this week of an investigation into a possible breach of COPPA by mobile social media gaming platform OpenFeint - the Commission decided that ambiguities in the current definitions, over whether OpenFeint could be considered a Web site operator - made it impossible to continue.
Privacy advocates have welcomed the proposals, which will be open for comment until September 10th.
Details of the Act are online at www.coppa.org