PHAI’s Cara Wilking on updating children’s online privacy protection

It has been nearly 15 years since Congress enacted the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).  In that time, marketing in a digital world has become ubiquitous and, often, indistinguishable from other content.  An essential part of this transformation of marketing involves providing a a surprisingly wide variety of information about the users to advertisers and content providers, usually without their knowledge.

When COPPA was created, data mining and other sophisticated data collection techniques did not exist.  Nor did the variety of platforms we see today, including mobile “geo-aware” computing platforms that can track one’s location through global positioning satellite as well as Wi-Fi technology.  Currently the Federal Trade Commission is proposing to update the rules of children’s online privacy protection to better accomplish what COPPA was designed to do:  ensure that children’s privacy is not compromised absent parental consent.

PHAI’s senior staff attorney, Cara Wilking, appeared on KPCC radio’s Airtalk on October 1 to discuss the updating of COPPA by the FTC.  Listen to the podcast here.

PHAI signed on to comments on the FTC’s proposed new rules for administering COPPA on September 25th.  They can be reviewed here.

The New York Times covered this issue on September 27 in an article entitled, “U.S. is Tightening Web Privacy Rule to Shield Young.”

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About Mark Gottlieb

Mark Gottlieb joined the staff of the Public Health Advocacy Institute in 1993 after graduating from Northeastern University School of Law. His efforts have focused on researching tobacco litigation as a public health strategy as director of the Tobacco Products Liability Project, reducing the harm caused by secondhand tobacco smoke through a variety of legal and policy approaches, fostering scholarship using tobacco industry documents, and, more recently, examining legal and policy approaches to address obesity. He is the Executive Director of the Institute and lives in Cambridge, MA with his wife and three children.