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New FTC Privacy Rules Ruffle Feathers


Kids on Computers

The new guidelines for conforming to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) make explicit what is good and bad behavior when it comes to app functionality, but makes some exceptions for certain companies.

Many firms assume that COPPA does not apply to them, generally because they don't have content that is geared to children. Some companies, though, find themselves in ambiguous territory when they sell apps or otherwise have third-party involvement with content that children would consume.

In some cases, firms just ensure that they are not collecting and using information in those cases without parental consent - the key mechanic of the law. But in some cases, the law had to exempt companies from potential liability - like those who run app stores.

On the other hand, high on the list of FTC scrutiny are those companies collating, selling and employing behavioral data. A key industry concern: small app developers may not have the resources to distinguish these differences very well.

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