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FTC Expands COPPA to Cover Apps, Exempts 'Platforms' Like App Store and Google Play

NewImageThe U.S. Federal Trade Commission today updated the privacy rules related to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act which was originally passed in 1998. The new rules reflect new types of platforms that children are using, like social media and mobile apps.

However, though apps themselves need to be sure to follow guidelines, app 'platforms' like Apple's App Store and Google Play, are explicitly exempted in the law. App stores are not required to verify that the apps they sell comply with the law; instead, it's up to individual developers to verify compliance.
Apple and Google Inc. protested the idea that they might be responsible for the collection of kids' data by apps they offer through their app stores. Apple made that point in five meetings with FTC officials in the fall. The FTC responded by explicitly exempting the Apple App Store and Google Play, the app store for mobile devices running Google's Android software, from having to make sure that the apps they provided complied with Coppa.
The FTC also exempted plug-ins like Facebook's "Like" button and Twitter's "Tweet" button that are used on thousands of websites around the world. Those companies only need to comply with Coppa if the company "knows or has reason to know" that the plug-in is being used on a website or app aimed at children.

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Earlier this month, the FTC revealed that it was investigating kids apps over privacy concerns, with SpongeBob Diner Dash named as one app that was singled out for investigation.

Top Rated Comments

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24 months ago
Oh, this should be fun. 1000s of childless 18-25 year-olds debating whether parents should be in charge of what their children do. Too bad I don't eat popcorn, anymore.
Rating: 5 Votes
24 months ago

Apple and Google are abdicating their responsibility to insure that even a modicum of our activities with their devices and apps, especially those related to minor children, are afforded any privacy protection (and they are making money hand over fist with this info-sometimes I feel like an information battery in The Matrix the way they siphon intelligence from my activity). Really shameful that Apple would argue it is not responsible for offending apps--uh, last time I checked Apple's app approval process is supposed to weed out any end runs around the rules, so to claim ignorance is pretty lame.


Get over yourself. It's YOUR job as a parent to take care of your kid. It's not Apple's job to verify the intentions of the people who create things that YOU allow into your children's hands. Are you going to complain because grocery stores still stock food that's bad for them? As for the whole "save the children" thing, learn a few things: turn the channel, don't buy them everything they want, and pay some attention to what is going on in their lives.
Rating: 3 Votes
24 months ago

Apple and Google are abdicating their responsibility to insure that even a modicum of our activities with their devices and apps, especially those related to minor children, are afforded any privacy protection (and they are making money hand over fist with this info-sometimes I feel like an information battery in The Matrix the way they siphon intelligence from my activity). Really shameful that Apple would argue it is not responsible for offending apps--uh, last time I checked Apple's app approval process is supposed to weed out any end runs around the rules, so to claim ignorance is pretty lame.


To be clear, this would just keep it from being a federal regulation and crime, Apple is still open to civil lawsuits all day long. When I go to Joe's hardware, I do not expect that Joe has personally inspected every item he sells to make sure it meets safe standards and federal regulations. Also, I do not expect the fed to regulate Joe and force him verify that his items meet all standards. Can I still sue Joe's ass? You bet I can.

Same goes for Apple or anyone else that resells another's product. Any company that is picky about what they sell is not doing so based on federal regulation, they are doing it because they want a better experience for their costumers.
Rating: 1 Votes
24 months ago
Apple and Google are abdicating their responsibility to insure that even a modicum of our activities with their devices and apps, especially those related to minor children, are afforded any privacy protection (and they are making money hand over fist with this info-sometimes I feel like an information battery in The Matrix the way they siphon intelligence from my activity). Really shameful that Apple would argue it is not responsible for offending apps--uh, last time I checked Apple's app approval process is supposed to weed out any end runs around the rules, so to claim ignorance is pretty lame.
Rating: 1 Votes
24 months ago

Get over yourself. It's YOUR job as a parent to take care of your kid. It's not Apple's job to verify the intentions of the people who create things that YOU allow into your children's hands. Are you going to complain because grocery stores still stock food that's bad for them? As for the whole "save the children" thing, learn a few things: turn the channel, don't buy them everything they want, and pay some attention to what is going on in their lives.


So it's the parents job to go through thousands of pages of code to make sure a game marketed directly to children does not collect personal data about said child?
Rating: 1 Votes
24 months ago
Sounds like a remarkably practical exemption to me. I could easily have imagined the bureaucracy placing some impossible burden of proof and penalties on Apple/Google/etc. to verify that every little developer is compliant!
Rating: 1 Votes
24 months ago

It's a parent's job, if they are concerned about such things, to not use apps as a substitute for family time. Do you go to a chemist with a box of cereal to verify the sugar content? No. Do you exercise reasonable caution, and assume that the company producing the cereal made it with wheat instead of rat poison? Yes. If a company has an ingredient in that cereal that isn't listed on the box, do you go and blame the grocery store for offering it? No. That would be dumb.


I always trust the ingredients label on food items, since they are required by law to be correct. (Like how children’s apps now are required to not track you)

And yes, i do blame the grocery store if they offer something which has a faulty ingredient list, since they are the ones responsible for selling it. That’s how it works in Sweden at least; we contact the retailer first instead of going directly to the manufacturer.
Rating: 1 Votes
24 months ago
Whatever. Just stick the FTC on the list of s@#$ to cut to avoid the Fiscal Cliff. They're not particularly useful.
Rating: 1 Votes
24 months ago

Apple and Google are abdicating their responsibility to insure that even a modicum of our activities with their devices and apps, especially those related to minor children, are afforded any privacy protection (and they are making money hand over fist with this info-sometimes I feel like an information battery in The Matrix the way they siphon intelligence from my activity). Really shameful that Apple would argue it is not responsible for offending apps--uh, last time I checked Apple's app approval process is supposed to weed out any end runs around the rules, so to claim ignorance is pretty lame.


What is shameful is people like you blaming Apple/Google instead of PARENTS who are responsible for their children's actions.

Than again when should I expect from the current state of the national filled with "everyone is responsible but me" citizens.
Rating: 1 Votes
24 months ago

So it's the parents job to go through thousands of pages of code to make sure a game marketed directly to children does not collect personal data about said child?


It's a parent's job, if they are concerned about such things, to not use apps as a substitute for family time. Do you go to a chemist with a box of cereal to verify the sugar content? No. Do you exercise reasonable caution, and assume that the company producing the cereal made it with wheat instead of rat poison? Yes. If a company has an ingredient in that cereal that isn't listed on the box, do you go and blame the grocery store for offering it? No. That would be dumb.
Rating: 1 Votes

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