The FTC wants to strengthen COPPA to make it harder for companies to monetize kids’ data

The is proposing changes to the (COPPA) to make it harder for tech companies to track and monetize children’s data. Some of the include placing limits on how long companies can retain data they collect from minors and forcing parents to consent to, or opt out of, targeted marketing.

COPPA has been around since April 2000 and currently requires some level of transparency from online services and websites. Before collecting data from minors, providers need to obtain “verifiable parental consent.” In 2013, the FTC tried to narrow the definition of to any digital service that weaves an advertising network into its platform and collects personal data — regardless of whether or not a website or online service is particularly directed toward children. At the time, they also expanded the scope of what constitutes ‘personal information’ to include geolocation and any that depict a child’s image, among other things.

In its new proposal, the FTC wants to expand the scope of personal information in COPPA again to include biometric data. The proposal will also scrutinize digital service providers for sending push notifications that encourage kids to keep using their service and attempt to close any loopholes for data collection to “support for internal operations.”

“When we consider the harms of online behavioral advertising to children, we cannot forget one of the original reasons COPPA was envisioned and enacted: A desire to ensure that companies cannot build a commercial relationship with children that preys on their immaturity, honesty, and trust,” FTC Commissioner Alvaro Bedoya said in a .

The FTC also wants to make it harder to monetize children’s data generated in the classroom in an effort to enhance privacy safeguards for students. If passed, COPPA will allow schools to gain more control over whether or not to allow educational tech providers the option to collect or use students’ personal information.

Lina Khan, the chair of the FTC, to voice support for the proposal, writing: “Our proposed changes to COPPA are much-needed, especially in an era where online tools have become essential for navigating daily life,” adding that companies are deploying increasingly sophisticated ways to collect kids’ data. The FTC will collect public comments on the proposal for 60 days before taking any further regulatory action.

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