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Free Expression

CDT Comments on COPPA Proposed Rule

The Federal Trade Commission’s proposed revisions to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule include a number of recommendations for changes to the COPPA regime. This proposed Rule responds to, and in some cases incorporates, recommendations made during the public comment process that began in 2010. In the proposed Rule, the Commission properly rejects the recommendations of some commenters to expand COPPA‘s scope to cover older minors or general-audience websites; these suggestions would radically expand the scope of COPPA and would impinge on the First Amendment rights of older minors and adults.

The Commission makes a number of proposals that will bring COPPA up-to-date and provide parents with better information and assurances about whether and how their children‘s personal information will be collected. However, some of the proposed revisions, including changes to the definition of personal information, raise significant technical and implementation questions that the Commission must address before adopting the revised Rule. The Commission also proposes a highly problematic new method of obtaining parental consent that we respectfully ask the Commission to reconsider.