The Center for Digital Democracy and Commonsense Media have
launched an online
petition drive to get parents to push the Federal Trade Commission to stay
the course on its proposed changes to the Children's Online Privacy Protection
Act enforcement regime.
They say the only way to compete with media lobbyists
working to weaken the privacy laws is to enlist parents in the effort.
"The Federal Trade Commission has proposed rule changes
that will update the law and keep parents in control even in this new digital
era of social media networks, mobile apps, gaming sites and tracking that goes
on while kids are web browsing," the petition says. "There is already
mounting industry opposition to these rule changes which will provide parents
with another tool to stay in control. Parents must make their voices
heard so that the FTC knows that we support these important rule changes that
keep parents in charge."
There were 353 signatures at presstime.
The Federal Trade Commission has recommended that ad
networks be subject to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act when they
are collecting personal information through a child-directed website. Proposed
revisions in the definitions of "operator" and "website"
directed to children will clarify their application to third parties, including
ad networks and plugins that collect personal info through child-directed sites
The definition of "website" would also be modified
to: "Clarify that a plugin or ad network is covered by the Rule when it
knows or has reason to know that it is collecting personal information through
a child-directed website or online service."
The FTC put those changes out for comment in July and got
an earful, including from cable and wireless operators saying there could
be unintended consequences to the changes as proposed, including putting a
crimp in TV Everywhere online delivery of kids' content.
In a joint filing, the National Cable and Telecommunications
Association and Motion Picture Association of America said the current rules
already strike the right balance and that some of the new changes "would
significantly extend the reach and the burdens of the COPPA regulatory
regime" without a corresponding benefit and, in fact, with a corresponding
adverse impact on the quality and viability of age-appropriate children's