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Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA): No Delay

On May 7, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) unanimously rejected requests from industry organizations to delay the July 1 date for compliance with the amendments to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).    In its response letter, the Commission noted that the updated rule has been in the works for three years and the July compliance date was announced last December, giving industry enough time to prepare.

According to the letter,

The Commission appreciates that some of your members will need to make changes to their business practices in order to comply with the amended Rule. At the same time, we note that all stakeholders have had sufficient opportunity to raise issues and articulate their concerns, the [statement of basis and purpose] provides sufficient guidance regarding the obligations the amended Rule will impose on COPPA-covered entities, and the more than six-month time period between issuance of the amended Rule and its effective date is adequate. Moreover, petitioners have not raised any concrete facts to demonstrate that a delay is necessary. In light of these factors, combined with the Congressional mandate to protect the privacy of children under the age of 13 and the Commission’s commitment to “[e]nsure that COPPA continues to meet its originally stated goals to minimize the collection of personal information from children and create a safer, more secure online experience for them,” the Commission finds no basis for delaying the effective date of the amended Rule.

During the six-month period the Commission noted, FTC staff have conducted numerous meetings and consultations with organizations and individual businesses on how to ensure compliance with the new rule.  The FTC also recently issued an updated set of FAQs for businesses and parents.

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About this Author

Cynthia Larose, Privacy, Security, Attorney, Mintz Levin, Law Firm, electronic transactions lawyer

Cynthia is Chair of the firm’s Privacy & Security Practice and a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP).  She represents companies in information, communications, and technology, including e-commerce and other electronic transactions. She counsels clients through all stages of the “corporate lifecycle,” from start-ups through mid- and later-stage financings to IPO, and has broad experience in technology and business law, including online contracting issues, licensing, domain name issues, software development, and complex outsourcing transactions.

Cynthia has extensive...