Children’s Online Privacy: Federal & State Updates

kids covering their faces with phones and tabletsMarch 25, 2024 | The Toy Association™ is providing the toy industry with an update on the following state and federal actions related to children’s online privacy protection:

Federal: COPPA 2.0
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced proposed revisions to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule on December 20, 2023. The COPPA Rule, which first went into effect in 2000, requires certain websites and other online services that collect personal information from children under the age of 13 to provide notice to parents and obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from these children. The rule was last updated in 2013 to reflect increased use of mobile devices and social media platforms.

The FTC’s proposed changes to COPPA — widely referred to as COPPA 2.0 — would place new restrictions on the use and disclosure of children’s personal information and further limit a company’s ability to collect more information than is reasonably necessary for a child to participate in a game, offering of a prize, or another activity. The FTC’s goal is to shift the burden from parents to providers to ensure that digital services are safe and secure for children.

The Toy Association submitted comments to the FTC on March 11 regarding the proposed updates to COPPA 2.0. While supporting some proposed changes, the Association raised concerns about certain definitions, disclosures, parental consent methods, security requirements, safe harbor programs, and the proposed effective date, urging for a minimum of one year for compliance.

“As an industry committed to children's safety and well-being, The Toy Association fully supports the ongoing review and enhancement of regulations like COPPA in addition to effective uniform national privacy standards to protect consumers, especially children,” said Ed Desmond, executive vice president of global government & regulatory affairs at The Toy Association. “From providing crucial input for evolving standards to sharing resources with parents about media literacy, we advocate for safe play, both online and offline.”

Click here to read the full comments.

State AADC Legislation
California’s Age-Appropriate Design Code (AADC) Act was signed into law in September 2022, which was the first of its kind children’s online privacy law introduced in the U.S. The law was modeled after the United Kingdom’s AADC and would require online platforms likely to be accessed by children under 18 to provide privacy protections by default. NetChoice, an online trade association representing companies such as Google, Meta, Amazon, Twitter, and TikTok, filed suit against the California Attorney General in December 2022, alleging that California’s AADC violates the First Amendment. The judge has issued a preliminary injunction to keep the law from going into effect.

Despite the ongoing lawsuit, several other states, including Hawaii, New Mexico, and New York, have proposed similar legislation this year. Additionally, California remains committed to implementing further safeguards for children's online protection.

For more information on The Toy Association’s advocacy initiatives at the federal and state levels or to join the Federal Government Affairs Committee or State Government Affairs Committee, contact The Toy Association’s Owen Caine, vice president of government affairs, or Erin Raden, senior director of state government affairs, respectively.