Today the Federal Trade Commission made updates to its FAQ for the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) in response to concerns raised by app makers and parents. This FAQ is the principal means by which the Commission provides guidance for its children’s online privacy regulation.
Today’s action by the FTC gives platforms and app makers more guidance in areas where confusion has persisted. With the Commission now providing a better explanation of the regulatory landscape, we expect innovation and investment in children’s education apps to grow markedly.
Throughout the past year, ACT | The App Association has been meeting with the FTC to stress the need for more clarity around COPPA. ACT Members from the education, special needs and games communities were confronting COPPA guidance that did not accurately reflect how parents, app makers, and kids interact with mobile devices. Today’s update should help platforms, developers and parents as we create new apps that engage children.
The FTC guidance specifically allows for new ways to seek parental consent — including credit card verification — and allows platforms to create new mechanisms for consent without being classified as an operator.
The FTC’s steps to improve clarity around COPPA removed some major obstacles that discouraged app makers from entering the children’s market. We believe now that more companies will embrace the opportunity to make engaging and educational apps for children.