Children's Online Privacy Protection Act

Children's Online Privacy Protection Act

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) is a United States federal law, located at 15 U.S.C. §§ 65016506 (Pub.L. 105-277, 112 Stat. 2581-728, enacted October 21, 1998).

The act, effective April 21, 2000, applies to the online collection of personal information by persons or entities under U.S. jurisdiction from children under 13 years of age. It details what a website operator must include in a privacy policy, when and how to seek verifiable consent from a parent or guardian, and what responsibilities an operator has to protect children's privacy and safety online including restrictions on the marketing to those under 13. While children under 13 can legally give out personal information with their parents' permission, many websites altogether disallow underage children from using their services due to the amount of paperwork involved.



The Federal Trade Commission has the authority to issue regulations and enforce COPPA. Also under the terms of COPPA, the FTC designated ‘safe harbor’ provision is designed to encourage increased industry self-regulation. Under this provision, industry groups and others may request Commission approval of self-regulatory guidelines to govern participants’ compliance, such that Web site operators in Commission-approved programs would first be subject to the disciplinary procedures of the safe harbor program in lieu of FTC enforcement. To date, the FTC has granted safe harbor to four companies: TRUSTe, ESRB, CARU and Privo.[citation needed]

The Act applies to websites and online services operated for commercial purposes that are either directed to children under 13 or have actual knowledge that children under 13 are providing information online. Most recognized non-profit organizations are exempt from most of the requirements of COPPA.[1] However, the Supreme Court ruled that non-profits operated for the benefit of their members' commercial activities are subject to FTC regulation and consequently also COPPA. The type of "verifiable parental consent" that is required before collecting and using information provided by children under 13 is based upon a "sliding scale" set forth in a Federal Trade Commission regulation[2] that takes into account the manner in which the information is being collected and the uses to which the information will be put.


The FTC has brought a number of actions against website operators for failure to comply with COPPA requirements, including actions against Girl's Life, Inc.,[3] American Pop Corn Company,[4] Lisa Frank, Inc.,[5] and Mrs. Field's Cookies and Hershey Foods.[6] In September 2006, the FTC levied substantial fines on several enterprises for COPPA violations. The website Xanga was fined US$1 million for COPPA violations, for repeatedly allowing children under 13 to sign up for the service without getting their parent's consent.[7] Similarly, UMG Recordings, Inc. was fined US$400,000 for COPPA violations in connection with a Web site that promoted the then 13-year-old pop star Lil' Romeo, and hosted child-oriented games and activities, and Bonzi Software, which offered downloads of an animated figure "BonziBuddy" that provided shopping advice, jokes, and trivia was fined US$75,000 for COPPA violations.[8]


Website operators must use reasonable procedures to ensure they are dealing with the child's parent. These procedures may include:

  • obtaining a signed form from the parent via postal mail or facsimile;
  • accepting and verifying a credit card number;
  • taking calls from parents on a toll-free telephone number staffed by trained personnel;
  • email accompanied by digital signature;
  • email accompanied by a PIN or password obtained through one of the verification methods above.

Operators who follow one of these procedures acting in good faith to a request for parental access are protected from liability under federal and state law for inadvertent disclosures of a child's information to someone who purports to be a parent.

International scope

This is an American law, however, the Federal Trade Commission has made it clear that the requirements of COPPA will apply to foreign-operated web sites if such sites "are directed to children in the U.S. or knowingly collect information from children in the U.S."[9] Other countries like Australia have made similar laws protecting children under 13 online.

See also


  1. ^ COPPA section 1302(2)(B)
  2. ^
  3. ^ Girls Life, Inc
  4. ^ Jolly Time
  5. ^ Lisa Frank, Inc
  6. ^ FTC Receives Largest COPPA Civil Penalties to Date in Settlements with Mrs. Fields Cookies and Hershey Foods
  7. ^ "FTC fines Xanga for violating kids' privacy - $1 million penalty against social networking site is largest under 1998 law", September 7, 2006
  8. ^ UMG Recordings, Inc. to Pay $400,000, Bonzi Software, Inc. To Pay $75,000 to Settle COPPA Civil Penalty Charges
  9. ^ FTC FAQ on COPPA. See, also, the COPPA Rule’s definition of an "operator", which includes foreign websites that are involved in commerce in the United States or its territories. FTC Final Rule, Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule, 16 C.F.R. Part 312.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Children's Online Privacy Protection Act — Children s Online Privacy Protection Act,   COPPA …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Children's Online Privacy Protection Act — Der Children s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA, deutsch: „Gesetz zum Schutz der Privatsphäre von Kindern im Internet“) ist ein Gesetz, welches am 21. April 2000 in den USA als Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Children s Online Privacy… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Children's Online Privacy Protection Act — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Coppa (homonymie). Le Children s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) est une loi des États Unis 1998 visant à protéger la vie privée des enfants sur Internet. Cette loi concerne la collecte, par des personnes… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act — Der Children s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA, deutsch: „Gesetz zum Schutz der Privatsphäre von Kindern im Internet“) ist ein Gesetz, welches am 21. April 2000 in den USA als Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Children s Online Privacy… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 — (COPPA) USA A federal law enforced by the Federal Trade Commission that regulates the online collection of personal information from children under the age of 13. It applies to commercial websites and online services that either …   Law dictionary

  • Child Online Protection Act — Not to be confused with the Children s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) or the Children s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). The Child Online Protection Act[1] (COPA)[2] was a law in the United States of America, passed in 1998 with the… …   Wikipedia

  • Privacy — For other uses, see Privacy (disambiguation). Privacy (from Latin: privatus separated from the rest, deprived of something, esp. office, participation in the government , from privo to deprive ) is the ability of an individual or group to seclude …   Wikipedia

  • Children's Advertising Review Unit — CARU Type Trade organization Industry Advertising Founded 1974 Headquarters United States Parent National Advertising Review Council …   Wikipedia

  • Protection de la vie privée — Vie privée et informatique L apparition de l informatique a changé la nature des problèmes posés par la notion de vie privée. Si l informatisation des données a été généralement considérée comme un progrès, elle s est parfois accompagnée de peurs …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Online vetting — Online vetting, also known as cyber vetting[1] is increasingly being used by potential employers and other acquaintances to vet people s online presence or internet reputation ( netrep )[2] on social network services such as Facebook, MySpace,… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”