On Wednesday, government officials announced that the new online child privacy laws will prevent anonymous advertisers and marketers from taking the personal information of preteens, according to a report from the Tulsa World. Software developers said that the price to comply with the new regulations and the risk of violating the regulations will cause quite a few businesses to exit the children’s marketplace.
According to the government, the information that cannot be collected without a parent’s consent for their child includes photos, location data from a cellphone, videos and audio files that have a human image or voice in them. The Federal Trade Commission also said that ‘persistent identifiers,’ which allow people to be tracked over a length of time and multiple websites, are not permitted via the new regulations.
The new rules from the FTC provide new methods for parents to offer their consent for their children. Those new methods include email, scanning consent forms and video conferencing. The rules handed down by the Federal Trade Commission make sure that the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which is 14-years-old, stays up to date with changing technology. That technology includes software applications, cellphones, social networking sites and tablets, according to FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz during a press conference.
Leibowitz noted that the FTC attempted to maintain a balance between protecting children while making sure that a major portion of the United States economy can still experience growth. The FTC said that liability for violations of the new regulations will not be extended to Apple, Google or other companies that have online stores that offer public access to children’s applications.
Both Apple and Google warned the FTC that if the rules included their stores, they would stop offering applications that are geared towards children. Apple noted that this would hurt the classrooms across the country, as interactive applications are being used by students and teachers more and more.
The president of the Application Developers Alliance, Jon Potter, said that the regulations leave the application industry liable for violations. Potter noted that this could cause many entrepreneurs to leave the children’s application industry.
Companies are still allowed to advertise on websites for children, according to Leibowitz. “You may not track children to build massive profiles,” he said.
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Rockefeller, a Democrat from West Virginia, said that the changes to the original law were long overdue. Rockefeller said that when the law was originally passed, no one knew how adults and children would operate on the Internet.
The CEO of Common Sense Media, James Steyer, said that the new rules “will provide a stern reminder to companies and developers that they need to do more to build a trustworthy online space for kids and families.”New Rules Released by FTC Regarding Online Privacy of Children by Harrison Barnes