Saturday, June 29, 2013

COPPA Limits on Collection of Children's Information Applies to Apps as of July 1, 2013

Congress amended COPPA in 2012 to cover online services such as apps. As was previously the case, the law only applies to apps "directed at" children under the age of 13, or have actual knowledge of collection of personal information from children under 13.

COPPA also applies to services that allow users to play network-connected games, social networking activities, purchase goods or services online, receive online advertisements, or interact with other online content or services.  

Mobile applications that connect to the Internet, Internet-enabled gaming platforms, voice-over-Internet protocol services, and Internet-enabled location-based services also are online services covered by COPPA.

This also applies to geolocation information, and photo, video, or audio recordings of children under 13.

Websites and online services covered by COPPA must, among other things,
  1. Provide direct notice to parents and obtain verifiable parental consent, with limited exceptions, before collecting personal information online from children;
  2. Give parents the choice of consenting to the operator’s collection and internal use of a child’s information, but prohibiting the operator from disclosing that information to third parties (unless disclosure is integral to the site or service, in which case, this must be made clear to parents);
  3. Provide parents access to their child's personal information to review and/or have the information deleted;
  4. Give parents the opportunity to prevent further use or online collection of a child's personal information