Technology TBJ January 2022
Sweeping Changes Proposed FOR COPPA
A LOOK AT UPDATES TO FEDERAL CHILD PRIVACY LAW
Written by Peggy Keene
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, of Florida, has proposed widespread changes to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, by introducing updates to the “Protecting the Information of our Vulnerable Children and Youth Act,” or Kids PRIVCY Act.
As a result of COPPA, most websites simply prohibit children under 13 from using their services altogether. Castor’s proposed changes to the PRIVCY Act would expand the reach of COPPA in many ways.
Proposed Updates to COPPA and Expansion to PRIVCY
Perhaps most significantly, the definition of “personal information” would newly include biometric, health, and education information. The definition would also be expanded to include physical characteristics, contents of messages and calls, and browser search history. It would also be expanded to include a new class to cover teenagers. While teenagers’ personal information would be newly subject to the scope of the law, teenagers would still have control over whether they could provide consent to have their information collected, used, or shared online.
The PRIVCY Act would also expand the reach of COPPA to go beyond sites that are directed or have “actual knowledge” that they collect personal information from children. Instead, it would be expanded to cover sites and services that are “likely to be accessed by children or teenagers,” which means “the possibility of more than a de minimis number of children or teenagers accessing the digital service is more probable than not.” It also prohibits online sites and services from targeting advertising based on information collected on them. While these are not all the proposed changes to COPPA and the PRIVCY Act, it covers some of the most visible changes. TBJ
This article, which was originally published on the Klemchuk Ideate Blog, has been edited and reprinted with permission.
PEGGY KEENE is of counsel to Klemchuk. Her practice focuses on intellectual property and internet law, e-commerce, and data privacy. Keene has also served as in-house counsel in the telecommunications industry.