Commentary

Business Groups Back IAB's Request To Delay Children's Privacy Rules

Business and ad groups are stepping up their efforts to persuade the Federal Trade Commission to push back the effective date of new children's privacy rules, currently slated to take effect on July 1.

Today, the Direct Marketing Association, Motion Picture Association of America, Online Publishers Association, Newspaper Association of America and other organizations said they need more time to comply with the new Children's Online Privacy Protection Act regulations.

The new COPPA regulations effectively ban companies from using behavioral targeting techniques on sites and apps directed to young children. COPPA provides that Web site operators can't knowingly collect personal data from children under 13 without their parents' consent, but tasks the FTC with defining key terms, like "personal information" and "web site operator."

The FTC's new rules, announced last year, define “personal information” as data used by ad networks to create behavioral profiles -- including persistent cookies and mobile device identifiers. The new definition also includes IP addresses, geolocation data and photos of children. Data collected for purposes of site analysis, frequency capping or contextual advertising isn't considered personal information.

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The DMA and other groups say that some of the new regulations “significantly impact the long standing business model” that its members have long relied on. “This has made the redesign of products and services, often occurring at the mid-stream point in product development cycles, a complex and difficult task,” they say in a letter to the FTC. The groups are seeking a delay until Jan. 1 of next year.

Last week, the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Application Developers Alliance also asked the FTC to push back the rules' effective date.

But 19 advocacy groups are telling the FTC that the new regulations should take effect in July, as scheduled. “Delay in implementing these already overdue reforms is unwarranted, would be harmful to children, and would undermine the goals of both Congress and the FTC,” the groups argue. “The revisions to COPPA are necessary to protect children and assist parents in light of the growing use of computers, mobile phones, and tablets, the increasing amount of data that is collected through these devices, and the sophisticated methods used to target and market to consumers.”

Organizations to sign the letter include the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumers Union, Public Health Advocacy Institute, and U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

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