Will the FTC Weaken Children’s Privacy Rules?

Oct 7 2019
Invited Advocates Raise Concerns About Upcoming COPPA Workshop, Plans to Undermine Federal Protections for Kids, October 7 D.C. lineup dominated by tech industry supporters

Contact:

David Monahan, CCFC (david@commercialfreechildhood.org; 617-896-9397)

Jeff Chester, CDD (jeff@democraticmedia.org; 202-494-7100)

Will the FTC Weaken Children’s Privacy Rules?

Invited Advocates Raise Concerns About Upcoming COPPA Workshop, Plans to Undermine Federal Protections for Kids

October 7 D.C. lineup dominated by tech industry supporters

WHAT:            The Future of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule (COPPA): An FTC Workshop

WHEN:            October 7, 2019, 9:00 am ET

WHERE:           Constitution Center, 400 7th St SW, Washington, DC

WORKSHOP PRESENTERS FOR CAMPAIGN FOR A COMMERCIAL-FREE CHILDHOOD (CCFC) AND CENTER FOR DIGITAL DEMOCRACY (CDD):

THE CHALLENGE:

In 2012, the FTC approved new safeguards to protect children’s privacy in the digital era, heeding the advice of child advocates, consumer groups, privacy experts and health professionals.  But now the Commission has called for comments on COPPA three years before a new review is mandated by statute.  The questions posed by the Commission, as well as public comments made by FTC staff, make privacy advocates wary that the FTC’s goal is to roll back COPPA safeguards rather than strengthen protections for children. Concerns about the FTC creating new loopholes or supporting industry calls to weaken the rules are heightened by the FTC’s speaker list for this workshop, replete with tech and marketing companies and their lawyers and lobbyists, with just a few privacy and children’s advocates at the table. The advocates are also concerned that the FTC is contemplating this action just weeks after its most significant COPPA enforcement action to date—requiring major changes to Google’s data collection practices on YouTube—a move that could result in rules being changed before those new practices have even been implemented. 

Children and families need increased COPPA enforcement, not weaker rules.  The key problems, the advocates note, are the lack of enforcement of the law by the FTC; the failure of the agency to protect children from unfair marketing practices, such as influencers; and the need to maintain the strongest possible safeguards—whether in the home, school or on mobile devices.   

Speakers at the workshop include:

Josh Golin, Executive Director, CCFC

Will participate in a panel entitled Scope of the COPPA Rule.

Katharina Kopp, Ph.D., Deputy Director, Director of Policy, CDD

Will participate in a panel entitled Uses and Misuses of Persistent Identifiers.

Laura M. Moy, Associate Professor of Law, Director, Communications & Technology Law Clinic, Georgetown University Law Center

Will participate in a panel entitled State of the World in Children’s Privacy.

Josh, Katharina, and Laura are available for questions in advance of the workshop, and will also be available to speak with press on site.

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