Denise Tayloe on Protecting Children’s Online Privacy with PRIVO

As more and more kids are getting online at ages earlier than ever before, concerns about allowing businesses access to children’s data are stronger than ever. Congress tried to address this important issue when the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) became law in April 2000, and then again when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) revised and strengthened it in 2014. Despite the law and its subsequent tweaks, concerns still exist because of COPPA’s burdensome way of handling parental consent. As a result, many clicks-and-mortar businesses avoid dealing with kids online altogether, completely foreclosing themselves from an important market segment: children and their parents.

COPPA was designed by lawmakers to introduce parents into the decision-making equation and place them in control over what information is collected online from their children. The intent of the law was to give parents the final say on which services their children would be allowed to personally interact with and what information they could disclose.

Since its inception, COPPA has created headaches for online content providers seeking to collect children’s personal information for marketing and other purposes as well as for parents who feel imposed upon to create a profile each time in order to verify themselves and allow their child to create an account with the online property.