CCFC is proud to be part of a broad coalition working to protect children’s privacy online. In August, along with 17 other organizations, we filed five separate complaints with the FTC against McDonald’s, Subway, General Mills, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The complaints urge the FTC to investigate these companies for unfair and deceptive marketing practices that use refer-a-friend campaigns to incite children to engage in viral marketing. These campaigns invite children to submit their own, and their friends’, personal information without obtaining parental consent. You can read the complaint here.
This week, the coalition petitioned the FTC to update COPPA by giving parents control over whether their children are tracked online by corporations and data brokers. COPPA rules have not been updated since 1998, despite the fact that online and mobile marketing has completely transformed since then. The FTC has proposed strong new rules, but the affected industries are lobbying hard to fight these changes. Our comments urge the FTC to hold firm and detail why 20th century rules aren’t adequate to protect children from 21st century marketing. You can read more about the FTC’s proposed changes in this story from the New York Times.