FTC plans changes in online child privacy protection rules

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The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has proposed amendments to online privacy rules for children that aim to give parents control over what personal information websites may collect from children under 13.

The proposed amendments to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) rule updates the definition of "personal information" to include geolocation information and certain types of persistent identifiers used for functions other than the website's internal operations, such as tracking cookies used for behavioral advertising, FTC said on Thursday.

Consumer access to computers is shifting from the model of a single, family-shared, personal computer to person-specific, Internet-enabled, handheld devices, often used by children below 13. Such handheld devices often have one or more unique identifiers associated with them that can be used to persistently link a user across websites and online services, including mobile applications, FTC said while explaining the need to include persistent identifiers in the definition of personal information.