FTC Releases COPPA Rule FAQs

April 26, 2013 | On Thursday, April 25th, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a guidance document containing the answers to nearly 100 Frequently Asked Questions to aid companies in complying with the amended Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule, which is expected to go into effect on July 1, 2013.

The guidance document covers general questions about the new Rule, including enforcement measures and exceptions, as well as privacy policies in the areas of geolocation, mixed audience sites, photos and video, disclosure of information to third parties, and more. Many of the FAQs reflect questions posed by the Toy Industry Association (TIA) during a meeting with the Commission’s COPPA compliance team in early April.

Given the late release date of these long-anticipated FAQs, TIA and several other trade groups sent a request to the FTC to extend the Rule’s effective date until January 1, 2014.

“The Toy Industry Association is encouraged by the FTC’s issuance of this document to assist companies with the potentially monumental task of updating their websites to comply with the amended Rule,” stated Carter Keithley, TIA President. “However, we urge the FTC to extend the implementation date until January 1, 2014, to assure sufficient time for widespread compliance with the nuances of the new Rule. The toy industry is committed to upholding its responsibility to offer fun, safe, and protective online environments for children.”

As previously reported, the FTC announced amendments to COPPA last December. The final Rule, which modified certain definitions and strengthened certain protections for the online collection, use, or disclosure of personal information from children under 13, incorporated many recommendations from TIA.

The Association will continue to update its members as new information becomes available; a guidance document containing toy industry-specific FAQs is also being developed by TIA staff and will be circulated in the coming weeks.

Questions on this topic may be directed to
Rachel Hedge, TIA director of federal government affairs (202.459.0351).