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In December 2012, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued revisions to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule (COPPA Rule or Rule). The COPPA Rule creates extensive parental notice and consent requirements, among other obligations, for organizations that (1) operate a website or online service that is “directed to children” under 13 and that collects “personal information” from users or (2) knowingly collect personal information from children under 13 through a website or online service. The new Rule takes effect today (July 1, 2013).

The FTC made significant changes that affect how the Rule functions in the definitions section, rather than in the operational sections. This tail-wags-the-dog approach means that organizations may be required to devote additional resources to understanding and complying with the Rule. Significant changes to the COPPA Rule include the following:

As we explained in a recent client alert, the FTC has been proactive in seeking out websites and online services that do not comply with the new Rule, and state agencies are also taking a more active role in monitoring organizations for COPPA compliance. Organizations that have not already examined the new COPPA Rule to determine how they are impacted by the changes, including whether they are now covered by the Rule, should do so as soon as possible.

Lynn Percival, an attorney no longer with Poyner Spruill, was the original author of this article.

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