U.S. regulators have broadened rules governing the privacy of children online to cover new areas, including smartphones and tablet devices, but under pressure from the technology industry, have backed down from proposals that would have made companies like Facebook or Apple more responsible for violations.
The Federal Trade Commission said it would change how it implements the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, or Coppa, to reflect the growth of social networks and smartphone apps among children.
The commission expanded the types of information it considers personal under the law. Children’s apps and websites will be required to get parental consent before gathering photos, videos or geographic location, and before tracking kids’ online behavior and passing along the data to other companies.
The FTC explicitly exempted app stores like those run by Apple and Google Inc. from responsibility for privacy violations by the games and other software that are sold there.
The updated rules go into effect on July 1st.
WSJ reported that consumer advocates said they would continue their push to make Apple and Google more responsible for the data-gathering practices of the apps they distribute, while several members of Congress are pushing legislation to further tighten limits on online tracking of children and teenagers.
The FTC reported last week about gaps in children’s online privacy. The report found hundreds of popular kids’ apps were collecting data without parental consent.