Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices in connection with the collection, use, or disclosure of personal information from and about children on the Internet. COPPA gives parents various rights, including the right to review the personal information a child provides. A child is regarded as someone under the age of thirteen.

Children are a subset of consumers who require special protection. We want to protect our children and therefore COPPA is important.

Read the full text of COPPA

You can read the latest version of COPPA on the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.

The COPPA YouTube issue

COPPA was in the news in January 2020  in the context of YouTube because the FTC fined Google $170 million. YouTube had collected children’s personal information without informing the parents as required by COPPA. This lead to YouTube changing their terms of service. One of the major changes included introducing a Children’s Privacy Notice.

The FTC recommends a privacy policy for all websites and online services even though they may not be directed to children or collect personal information from children.

Who must comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act

Essentially, anyone who processes the personal information of children, which is called an operator. An operator needs to comply if:

  • their content is directed towards children in the United States of America;
  • they are aware that they are processing the personal information of children in the United States; or
  • they are based in the United States of America and collect personal information of foreign children.