Explainer: How the U.S. seeks to protect children’s privacy online

Related

WASHINGTON – TikTok is under investigation for allegedly violating a settlement reached with U.S. authorities last year that resolved charges the popular app broke rules governing how children’s personal information is treated online.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which enforces the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, and the Justice Department, which often files court actions for the FTC, have opened a preliminary investigation into the matter involving the China-based video-sharing app.

Under rules dating to 1998 legislation, COPPA requires websites to get parental permission to collect data on children under the age of 13. Websites or online services are also expected to ban third parties from collecting the data.

COPPA also applies to mobile apps, gaming platforms and internet-connected toys, among others.

Under pressure from the FTC, TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance, agreed in early 2019 to pay a $5.7 million civil penalty for violating COPPA by collecting kids’ first and last names, phone numbers, email addresses and pictures.

In a bigger settlement, highlighting that TikTok was not alone, Alphabet’s YouTube agreed in September 2019 to pay $170 million to settle allegations it too violated COPPA by tracking kids online.

Under COPPA rules, the definition of personal information ranges from the least sensitive, like street addresses, to the most, such as Social Security numbers. It also includes photographs and videos. Tracking a child as they travel from website to website online also counts as collecting personal information.

The FTC has approved of several companies’ methods for providing age verification for websites. Some will ask a person’s birth date, and toss them off the site if they are not 13 or older. They also often make it so that the child cannot change the date to gain entry, said John Verdi of the pro-privacy Future of Privacy Forum.

To comply with COPPA, companies are expected to post a privacy policy that is easy to find and clearly describes what information is collected and how it is used.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Tom Brown)

- Advertisement -
SourceReuters

Add your comment(s)

 

Latest

Justice Department opens probe into ex-NASA official, Boeing over space contract

By Joey Roulette and Eric M. Johnson WASHINGTON/SEATTLE - The U.S. Justice Department has opened a criminal probe into whether NASA's former head of human...

U.S. post office warns 46 states some mailed ballots may not be counted in election

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Postal Service recently sent letters to 46 states and the District of Columbia warning that some mailed ballots may not...

Wall Street Week Ahead: Biden victory? Trump victory? Disputed election? Wall Street price disruption in November…?

By David Randall and Saqib Iqbal Ahmed NEW YORK - Investors are girding their portfolios for market moves ahead of the U.S. presidential vote, as...

U.S. House Republican says Democrats’ COVID-19 bill would harm market

WASHINGTON - U.S. House of Representatives Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said on Friday that Democratic legislation on coronavirus relief would undermine the stock market,...

Postal union endorses Biden candidacy as ‘survival’ of USPS at stake

By David Shepardson WASHINGTON - The 300,000-member National Association of Letter Carriers said on Friday that the union's executive council had endorsed Democrat Joe Biden...

Trending