While the blurring of advertising and content has become part of everyday life for adults, many privacy advocates, and parents for that matter, object when the target is children.
Google has recently come under fire for its new YouTube for Kids app for that very reason, and several privacy groups have sent a letter to the FTC to formally complain about the app. Google claims that the new app is COPPA-compliant, and that its goal was to keep the app free for users, which therefore necessitated it being ad-supported. While the app may follow COPPA rules and regulations, Google may still be in for a legal battle if the FTC decides to pursue the matter further. At the very least, it could be in violation of the Children’s Advertising Review Unit’s Self-Regulatory Guidelines which prohibit such blurring of lines.
To learn more, visit Inside Counsel for Juliana Kenny’s article on this issue.
A recent study showed that more than half of children use social media by the age of 10.
COPPA, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, prohibits companies from collecting personal information from children under the age of 13, and then sharing this information with third parties. This is why most websites don’t allow children under the age of 13 to sign up. Unfortunately, many parents and children ignore these rules. The study showed that over 50% of 8-16 year-olds ignored Facebook’s age limit restrictions to sign up, and of those, nearly 75% said they had help from their parents to set up the account. Only a third of parents surveyed said that they felt “very confident” about keeping their children safe online.
Are you unsure at what age it’s appropriate for your child to sign up for a social media account? We like this Nick Bilton blog post in the New York Times Letting Your Kids Play in the Social Media Sandbox which provides some helpful information about which sites you can be comfortable with, which sites you may want to avoid altogether, and some extra steps that you can take to help keep your children safe online.
When the unofficial FTC grace period for compliance of its newly-updated COPPA rules came to an end in September of 2014, with settlements against Yelp and mobile app developer TinyCo, it appeared as if the gloves were off. Will this trend continue into 2015? Allison Fitzpatrick of advertising, marketing & promotions practice group Davis & Gilbert thinks so.
In this Ad Age article entitled Why We All Need to Worry About Children’s Privacy, Allison makes some predictions for the FTC’s enforcement of COPPA in the year ahead:
- The FTC will be more aggressive in its enforcement of COPPA, particularly against mobile apps.
- The next COPPA FTC actions will involve behavioral targeting of children.
- COPPA violations will apply to general sites and apps, not just kids’ sites.
To read the entire article and see the rest of Allison’s predictions, go to Ad Age.
An important reminder for all brands and app developers, even those based outside the U.S., that they have a legal obligation under COPPA.
In this Bureau of Consumer Protection blog post Lesley Fair explains why the FTC sent a warning letter to BabyBus, a China-based developer of early childhood education software targeted to children under 13. Apparently several of the BabyBus apps collect kids’ precise geo-location without parental approval; a big no-no under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule.
Read Lesley’s entire article here.
Innovator Spotlight: Kpass from Privacy Identity Innovation on Vimeo.
The 5th annual Privacy Identity Innovation conference, pii2014, took place November 12-14, 2014 in Silicon Valley. During the pii2014 Innovator Spotlight, the CEOs of each of the startups selected gave a five-minute presentation about their company.
Here, Founder and CEO Dan Nelson discusses the inspiration for Kpass, why he views the complexities of COPPA as an opportunity, and how Kpass simplifies the process for brands, developers and parents alike.