COPPA, the only federal law protecting kids’ privacy online, is currently up for review at the FTC. Our goal is to make sure that this review ends with a much-needed strengthening of this critical law – but we can’t know how best to protect children’s data if we don’t know how companies are collecting it, or exactly how they’re using it.
That’s why CCFC, the Center for Digital Democracy, and the Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown Law are urging the FTC to use its authority to subpoena companies like Google, Facebook, Twitch, Epic Games, Viacom, Disney, and other kid-targeting companies and platforms.
An incredible coalition of 29 consumer and child advocacy orgs, including American Academy of Pediatrics, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Consumer Reports, Color of Change, Common Sense Media and UnidosUS, joined onto the letter we sent the FTC on December 5. Our call was also supported by Sesame Workshop in a separate filing.
As our letter notes:
Websites, apps, platforms, and content providers all have access to a wealth of user information—including classes of information that constitute “personal information” under COPPA. Service providers collect this information to deliver functionality, but also to analyze performance and track, predict, and modify user behavior—including across multiple services and devices. Unnecessary data collection is common, transparency is rare, and misrepresentations about data practices are far too widespread. A comprehensive examination of these practices is severely needed.
Tracking and marketing technologies are becoming more sophisticated, more ubiquitous, and more powerful every day – and every day, they’re being used to manipulate kids for profit. The FTC has the power to severely curtail marketers’ unethical and illegal behavior, but they can’t do it without understanding what that behavior truly involves in the first place.