CCFC Blog

The only federal law to protect children’s privacy online is under attack, and we need your help to save it. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) empowers parents to protect their children’s privacy, restricts what data can be collected from kids, and limits how that data can be used. In September, acting on a complaint filed by CCFC, the Federal Trade Commission levied a record-breaking fine on Google for violating COPPA, and forced them to make significant changes to YouTube’s data collection and marketing practices.  Now, Google and other industry players want to weaken COPPA, so that they can keep collecting kids’ sensitive data for manipulative personalized marketing. Tell the FTC: Put kids'...
For more than 20 years, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) has been the only federal law stopping tech companies from exploiting kids’ data for profit. Now, Google and other tech giants are working to weaken COPPA’s protections – and we need your help to stop them. Sign onto our comments telling the Federal Trade Commission that any changes to COPPA should be to strengthen – not weaken – privacy protections for children. After you’ve signed, submit your own comment to the FTC telling them why children’s privacy protections matter to you and your family.  You can submit your comments to the FTC online here (look for the “comment now!” button in the top right). Comments must be...
Last year, CCFC, Center for Digital Democracy, and our lawyers at Georgetown Law's IPR filed an FTC complaint detailing how Google illegally collects, uses, and profits off of kids’ personal information on YouTube. And this week, we got results: the FTC announced that it reached a landmark settlement with YouTube and Google that will ban behavioral advertising and limit data collection on child-directed channels.  As FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra explains, behavioral advertising targets “a demographic of one.” Using masses of user data – browsing activity, web searches, location data, and so on – Google can “psychologically profile each user and predict in real time what content will be most engaging and which ads will be...
On July 24, the FTC announced its settlement with Facebook following a 16 month investigation into Facebook's deceptive practices. Below is CCFC Executive Director Josh Golin's statement on the settlement: We agree with dissenting Commissioners Rohit Chopra and Rebecca Kelly Slaughter that the FTC's settlement with Facebook is not strong enough. Specifically, we are extremely concerned that this settlement lets Facebook off the hook for violating kids' privacy and manipulating children and teens into making in-app purchases. As Commissioner Chopra noted in his dissent, the FTC has essentially given Facebook ‘a legal shield ... covering a wide range of conduct not addressed in the proposed complaint or settlement.' This shield...
Waterford UPSTART, an online preschool program that CCFC and our allies have repeatedly spoken out against, is launching a major expansion thanks to wealthy private donors. As part of The Audacious Project, a TED-backed initiative that connects powerful private funders with “innovative ideas,” UPSTART could raise tens of millions of dollars on the basis that they’re a “proven” program in kindergarten readiness – despite the fact that 75 minutes isolated on a screen can’t possibly provide four-year-olds with the social, emotional, and physical interaction that they need to learn. And just as CCFC and DEY suggested would be the case, UPSTART plans to use public funds to implement their program across the United States.  UPSTART’s talk at TED...
Last week, the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal reported the FTC is planning to take action against YouTube as a result of CCFC and Center for Digital Democracy's multiple complaints against the video giant. But it'll take more than a fine of a few million dollars to change the ways of a multibillion dollar company – so we're asking the FTC to make sure that any action includes penalties and conditions that will actually deter Google from breaking the law and exploiting kids. Read our statements below:  *** “For years, the FTC’s failure to enforce COPPA has left children vulnerable to a host of manipulative data collection and marketing practices. No one has benefited more than...
Mark Bertin, MD
As a developmental pediatrician, I see an increasing number of families swamped by stress and emotion around kids’ screen use. Raising healthy children is hard in the digital era, especially without community standards about kids and screens – when there’s no clear agreement on what’s best, parents are often led to ignore their own (valid!) concerns. But technology isn’t rock and roll music, which some people resisted for no real reason. In my field, we already know technology can negatively impact children’s development, especially if we don’t teach kids to use it wisely.  That’s why I’m excited to support CCFC, whose resources and national advocacy are helping steer kids and families toward a healthier future....
A new CCFC investigation has revealed deeply troubling findings about Amazon’s Echo Dot Kids, including that Amazon keeps children’s data even after parents try to delete it. We’re calling on the FTC to investigate Amazon for this and other blatant violations of children’s privacy law – because parents, not Jeff Bezos, should be in charge of children’s data. Learn more about our findings, and Echo Dot’s privacy problems, here.  *** Today, a coalition of 19 consumer and public health advocates led by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) and the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate and sanction Amazon for infringing on children’s privacy through its...
This week, CCFC learned that a TED initiative called The Audacious Project is planning to fund an expansion of an online preschool program called UPSTART. But as CCFC and our allies made clear last October, online preschool will only exacerbate educational inequality. CCFC and Defending the Early Years are asking TED and The Audacious Project to postpone funding this well-intentioned but misguided initiative, and to meet with us and other advocates to understand the risks, harms, and failures of screen-based early education.  Our full letter to The Audacious Project is below. For more, please see our press release, our October 2018 Position Statement on Online Preschool, and DEY’s...
This is the year we'll stop marketers from tracking and targeting children online. Senators Ed Markey and Josh Hawley have just proposed the strongest restrictions on marketing to children in more than twenty years. Their bill – which we helped shaped – reads like a CCFC wish list. Among other things, our legislation would: Ban all targeted marketing to children under 13. That means advertisers can't use kids' locations, interests, browsing habits, or anything else about them to target them with ads. Hold companies like YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat accountable for profiting off of the millions of underage children that regularly use their sites. Give teens important new privacy...

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