TIA Joins Industry Groups in Urging FTC to Extend Effective Date of Final COPPA Rule

April 23, 2013 | In a letter sent to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) and several trade organizations urged the FTC to consider extending the effective date for the amendments to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection (COPPA) Rule from July 1, 2013 to January 1, 2014.

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.

In today’s letter, the signatories stated that more time is needed to complete the complex and difficult task of redesigning products and services to ensure compliance, indicating the final Rule’s current effective date of July 1, 2013 does not allow sufficient time for online content and service providers across a range of industries to prepare for a number of new entities under the Rule as a result of an unanticipated expansion of data elements that are considered to be “personal information.”

Additionally, a final FAQ to help companies understand many of the nuances regarding implementation has not yet been released by the FTC. The Commission’s FAQs are not expected until early May, leaving very little time for companies to modify new and existing products and services in time for the effective date.

“The toy industry is proud of its commitment and leadership in upholding social responsibility to protect children’s privacy online,” stated Carter Keithley, TIA President. “However, it could potentially be a monumental task for companies to update their websites to comply with the amendments by July 1. We believe that a longer timeline for implementation will help to assure widespread compliance with the Rule and will allow the toy industry to continue to offer fun, safe online environments for children while remaining protective.”

TIA will keep members apprised of developments; questions on this topic may be directed to Rachel Hedge, TIA director of federal government affairs.

In February, TIA’s Knowledge Network hosted a webinar presented by an expert from the FTC regarding the COPPA amendments and their impact on the toy industry; a recording of the session is available online (scroll to the bottom of the page – under Webinar Access).