Steve will give a presentation to the Cyberspace Committee of the California State Bar’s Business Law Section on Tuesday, January 15, 2012 at 12:30 p.m. on the Federal Trade Commission’s recent changes to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule.
The COPPA Rule went into effect in 2000, regulating the ability of website operators to collect personal information about children under the age of thirteen. The FTC initiated a review of the 13-year-old COPPA rule in 2010 to ensure that the Rule kept pace with changes in online technology and online behavior, and in particular with the rise of third-party “apps” and plug-ins. Steve’s presentation will highlight some of the recent significant changes to the rule, including (1) the expansion of the definition of “operator” to include not just website operators that directly collect information about children but also operators whose sites allow personal information to be collected through third-party apps and similar services; (2) the expansion of the definition of the term “personal information” to include things like geolocation data; and (3) changes in the methods by which websites can seek and obtain parental consent for the collection of personal information about children.
The presentation can be accessed by telephone at: 1-866-548-4705, ID: 882704.
The efforts of the California legislature to regulate privacy in social media received a setback on June 2, 2011 when the California State Senate for the second time refused passage of a Senate Bill that would require social media networks to adopt default settings restricting the display of their users’ personally identifiable information.
The bill, S.B. 242, known as the “Social Networking Privacy Act,” was introduced by Senator Ellen Corbett earlier this year. The bill required social media networks to adopt default settings prohibiting the display of “personal identifying information”, such as address, telephone number, driver’s license, social security number, credit card numbers, and other information. It also required the networks to advise users of their ability to change the settings for display of personal information in “plain language.” Finally, it required networks to remove personal identifying information “in a timely manner” upon request.
Supporters of the bill argued it was necessary because studies show many social media users are unaware of how much private information they make unavailable on social media sites. Opponents, on the other hand, argued there was an insufficient demonstration of a need for the new law, that it would result in less privacy, and that it unconstitutionally infringed the free speech rights of social media users.
Ultimately, the bill fell two votes short of a majority in the State Senate. Online privacy remains an issue of interest to the state legislature, however, and other bills remain pending.