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Below we address, for each new category of personal information, an operator’s obligations regarding use or disclosure of previously collected information that will be deemed personal information once the amended Rule goes into effect: As discussed in additional FAQs below, the amendments to the Rule help to ensure that COPPA continues to meet its originally stated goals to minimize the collection of personal information from children and create a safer, more secure online experience for them, even as online technologies, and children’s uses of such technologies, evolve.
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. COPPA only applies to personal information collected online children, including personal information about themselves, their parents, friends, or other persons. In enacting the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, Congress determined to apply the statute’s protections only to children under 13, recognizing that younger children are particularly vulnerable to overreaching by marketers and may not understand the safety and privacy issues created by the online collection of personal information. The Rule governs the online collection of personal information from children by a covered operator, even if children volunteer the information or are not required by the operator to input the information to participate on the webssite or service. Information about such tools is available at organizations such as and from manufacturers of several operating systems. COPPA covers operators of general audience websites or online services only where such operators have that a child under age 13 is the person providing personal information.
However, the Commission’s 1999 Statement of Basis and Purpose notes that the Commission expects that operators will keep confidential 64 Fed. Although COPPA does not apply to teenagers, the FTC is concerned about teen privacy and does believe that strong, more flexible, protections may be appropriate for this age group. The Rule also covers operators that allow children publicly to post personal information. The Rule does not require operators to ask the age of visitors.
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The following FAQs are intended to supplement the compliance materials available on the FTC website. COPPA required the Federal Trade Commission to issue and enforce regulations concerning children’s online privacy.
Some FAQs refer to a type of document called a Statement of Basis and Purpose. The Rule also applies to websites or online services that have actual knowledge that they are collecting personal information directly from users of another website or online service directed to children.