The Federal Trade Commission had some fans Wednesday of its
proposal to tighten/clarify the application of Child Online Privacy Protection
Act (COPPA) rules to third parties, including advertisers.
Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), a longtime champion for child
online protections, including no tracking of kids online, called the FTC's
proposed changes an "important step toward protecting kids online."
But Barton clearly saw it as the beginning of a journey
rather than a destination in itself.
"These proposed changes to COPPA are a step in the right
direction, but I believe that our children need stronger protections included
in the Do Not Track Kids Act, a bill I have introduced with my friend [Rep. Ed]
Markey. As cochair of the Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus [Markey is the other
co-chair], I will continue to stress the importance of allowing consumers to
have control over their personal information, and I hope that more of my
colleagues will join me in this effort."
Consumers Union, which has also pushed for more online
protections, praised the move. "Today's announcement gives more clarity to
website operators and third party information collectors, including Facebook,
plugins, or advertisers, regarding their responsibilities under COPPA,"
the group said. "It is critical that website operators and third party
advertisers alike are held to the same standards when it comes to protecting
our children online. This proposal makes it clear to industry partners that
protecting children's online privacy is a shared priority."