FTC Proposes to rein in data brokers that target children, responding to advocates call to ensure COPPA addresses real-time targeting system

By: Jeff Chester | Aug 1 2012

CDD statement on today's FTC COPPA proposal.

Today, the FTC took a giant step to protect children's privacy by proposing that the online data broker industry be required to comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).  Children--like adults--confront a pervasive data collection and targeting system made up of ad networks, data exchanges, and other digital marketing companies able to target anyone in real-time.  The FTC's proposal ensures that parents will have control over how information can be collected from their children via mobile phones, online games and when they use computers.  In addition, the commission will also rein in the data brokers targeting kids who use social media, so-called "plug-ins," to gather information on a child and their friends.

Consumer, child advocacy, privacy and public health groups have called on the FTC to ensure that COPPA protects kids and empowers parents in today's data collection intensive, targeting 24/7 online environment.  This proposal will help accomplish this.  We are concerned, however, about the lobbying of the Walt Disney Company and others to secure an exemption for so-called family websites.  We will be reviewing the commission's proposal and industry practices on such sites.

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