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FTC Releases COPPA Rule Change FAQs

The Federal Trade Commission has released the FAQs
accompanying its planned updates of the Children's Online Privacy Protection
Rule (COPPR), scheduled to take effect July 1.

The fact that those had not yet been released was one of the
reasons that online advertisers gave in aletter earlier this week asking the FTC to move that date from July 1 to
Jan. 1, 2014.

The FAQs include what is now defined as personal
information, when the rule changes go into effect -- still July 1 -- who is
covered, how to file complaints against alleged violators and much more.

"The guidelines provide useful clarification," said Angela Campbell, an attorney representing the Center for Digital Democracy, one of the groups asking the FTC not to delay implementation. "For example, Question 79's explanation that 'support for internal operations does not include behavioral advertising' addresses concerns that companies might try to take advantage of the exception for internal operations to continue to target ads to children without parental knowledge and consent. While the FAQs provide helpful guidance for companies covered by COPPA, they do not provide any reason to delay the July 1 effective date. If companies are engaging in activities not permitted under the revised rules cannot come into compliance by the effective date, they should simply stop engaging in those activities until they can comply."