FTC Modifies Law Protecting Children’s Online Privacy

January 24, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. amend (v.) 
[uh-mend]– to change or make better
Example: In 1920, the US government amended laws to allow women to vote.

2. act (n.) [akt]– a written law or rule
Example: The Cybercrime Prevention Act prevents illegal activities on the Internet.

3. loophole (n.) [loop-hohl]– a gap in the law or rule that allows people to somehow break the rule without getting punished
ExampleLoopholes in the tax system allow businessmen to avoid paying heavy taxes.

4. exploitation (n.) [ek-sploi-tey-shuhn]– the act of unfairly taking advantage of a person, object, or experience
Example: Anti-child labor laws protect children from exploitation.

5. confidential (adj.) [kon-fi-den-shuhl]– cannot be revealed; private or secret
Example: The government keeps its confidential documents in a locked and secured room.

Read the text below.

The US Federal Trade Commission has amended the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) to remove loopholes on collection and sharing of children’s personal information online.

The amended COPPA will be effective starting July 1, 2013, almost 14 years since the COPPA was approved. The act will no longer allow websites and apps to collect information such as photos, videos, and current location from children below 13 years old without getting parent’s consent.

The modified COPPA will also cover persistent identifiers, such as IP addresses and mobile device IDs. Persistent identifiers can identify the same user even across different websites or online locations.

Additionally, websites and other online service providers will be able to release children’s personal information only to companies that can keep the information confidential.

The CEO of Common Sense Media, an organization that studies on how media affects children, said the organization approves of the COPPA revision. The changes will remind companies of the need to protect children from exploitation on the Internet.

The CEO of Family Safety Online Institute also appreciates the government’s effort to strengthen children’s protection. However, the CEO said the improved COPPA may cause too much problem for the website and app developers.

Small app developers worry about the legal fees they will have to pay if the COPPA comes into effect. Because of the amended law, developers may no longer create any new and exciting content for kids.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A 

·         Should laws on Internet privacy be stricter? Please explain your answer.
·         What can Internet users do to protect their private information?

Discussion B

·         How can using the Internet without guidance harm children?
·         If you were a parent, how would you protect your children from inappropriate content on the Internet? 


January 24, 2013