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ANA and DMA File Comments with FTC on COPPA Rule

ANA and the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) filed comments on Monday, September 24th with the Federal Trade Commission on its proposal to amend the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule.  The rule was first adopted in 1999 as required by Congress when it passed the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998.  The FTC’s proposed amendments included expanding the definitions of “operator” and “web site or online service directed to children” to include additional sites and to clarify the responsibilities of third parties or independent entities when collecting information on child-directed sites.  It also proposed expanding the definitions of “personal information” to include screen or user names where it functions similarly to online contact information and persistent identifiers.  

Our comments contend that the existing rule is adequate and the modifications proposed would create new technical and practical challenges.  We also note that the proposals are not supported by the statutory provisions of COPPA and appear to be an effort to bring under the rule online behavioral advertising, which falls outside the scope of COPPA.   Instead, we suggest an alternative framework to address online behavioral advertising that is faithful to the COPPA statute.  We specifically note concerns about the definition of “directed to children” as applied to first party sites and the definition of “screen or user names.”  

If you have any questions, you can reach Dan Jaffe in ANA's Washington office at 202-296-2359 or at djaffe@ana.net.

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