Children’s Advocates Call for COPPA Act Reform

July 2, 2010 -

As the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) begins a review of its Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), and the connected world becomes ever more connected, a gaggle of advocacy groups is calling for more stringent protections to protect youngsters.

Comments were offered to the FTC (PDF) by groups such as the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Children Now and the Consumer Federation of America (CFA). The advocates argued that when COPPA was originally passed in 1998, computers were the only means of accessing the Internet. Now, of course, cell phones, videogame machines and even interactive television provide additional ways for children to get online, and “these developments have increased the risks to children’s privacy.”

In a section on videogames, the advocates noted that:

The types of user information collected by these online gaming consoles overlaps, and sometimes exceeds, the data captured during traditional web browsing.

The groups were also concerned with the rising amount of advertising found in games and is further alarmed by privacy issues that could emerge from new technologies like Microsoft’s Kinect. Kinect’s ability to recognize facial features could allow advertisers to “determine when children are playing, what their gender is, and to analyze their game preferences and behavior,” allowing “unprecedented potential for invasiveness.”

It was suggested that the FTC “clarify or define” terms used in COPPA, strengthen its safe harbor program and take a “more proactive role in uncovering and informing the public about how marketers are collecting and using information from and about individuals.”

CNET, meanwhile, jumped on an FTC consideration that online operators might be forced to utilize different types of consent in order to serve young users, such as signed forms or a credit card, to imply that such uses could be adapted to online or connected videogames for instance.

Progress and Freedom Foundation Attorney Berin Szoka said that such an implementation would be “divorced from practical realities,” adding, “It's a burden on site operators. It's a burden on speech rights, especially when you're talking about teens, to access information without parental consent.”


Comments

Re: Children’s Advocates Call for COPPA Act Reform

No thanks we have enough laws these "acts" only steal away our liberties....


I have a dream, break the chains of copy right oppression! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/cigital-disobedience/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

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Re: Children’s Advocates Call for COPPA Act Reform

stop the "think of the children" bull and ACTUALLY ask the children Im fairly sure these "advocates" will be told to shove their ideas where the sun dont shine.

Re: Children’s Advocates Call for COPPA Act Reform

Goddamnit, these people must have a terrible time with life- they are afraid of EVERYTHING.

Re: Children’s Advocates Call for COPPA Act Reform

Ever notice how 'Children's Advocate' groups rarely actually act as children's advocates?

When these groups start treating children like people maybe I will take them more seriously.

Re: Children’s Advocates Call for COPPA Act Reform

This is the infantilization and babying of young people going on here. Seriously, If you place so many restrictions on teenagers, as well as give them no responsibilities and don't hold them resonsible for their own actions, your going to have a group of 20/30/40 years old man children who still have an adolecent mindset that have never really truely grown up. All this nanny-state and "protect the children" bullshit has got to go.

 "No law means no law" - Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

"No law means no law" - Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

Re: Children’s Advocates Call for COPPA Act Reform

 *nods*

One thing I find scary, looking at the language used to describe age over time.    What is 'baby', 'child', and 'adult' has slowly been sliding.  I actually have heard 40-60 somethings refer to 20 year olds as 'baby's over the last decades... while obviously they do not literally think they are babies, it does say something about how, internally, they are thinking about the subject.  'Child' is routinely used to describe late teenagers now when even a few decades back they were called 'adults'.

Re: Children’s Advocates Call for COPPA Act Reform

I didn't care, until I read the comment about Kinect.  Apparently, people are going to hack your 360 and steal info on you via Kinect?  Am I reading that right?

To what end?  Kinect won't be used for anything more than crappy games nobody will play anyway because you must be in a standing position at all times in order to use it.

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Re: Children’s Advocates Call for COPPA Act Reform

Noen of this will do any good if kids keep posting persoanl info to Facebook and Twitter.

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