The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) has put up a form that interested parties can sign onto concerning some changes that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has planned for the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
The changes – listed and examined in great detail in this Ars Technica article – could have a chilling effect on App makers, technology companies, online advertisers and web site owners, according to the advocacy group. Under current COPPA rules, websites and apps geared towards children need parental consent before collecting personal information from children.
But a new proposal by the FTC would require any site or app that might possibly have a large portion of young visitors (under age 13) to get the consent of parents. Because the language is so vague and loose, it will burden a large number of websites and apps with new legal obligations.
Here's an excerpt on that from the sign-in:
"Under this vague standard, a much larger number of sites and apps could be subject to COPPA's burdensome legal obligations. General-audience services dealing with music or popular topics like sports would have to worry about whether too many children find their content appealing. At the very least, the proposal will leave site and app developers in a state of extreme uncertainty – it's difficult, if not impossible, for most sites and apps to know if they fall under this standard."
This, they say, creates uncertainty for developers who create general-audience services, and adds new risks like legal obligations.
If you are a website owner, concerned citizen, app developer or provide other services tied to various general audience internet sites then you might want to join the CDT's sign-on form. The sign-on form will close at 7pm ET, on Monday, September 24th. Find it here.