The Center for Digital Democracy and Common Sense Media launched an important petition asking for privacy-protecting revisions to COPPA, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. We signed, and we urge you to do the same.
Why is COPPA important? Because advertisers are constantly targeting children with influential advertising online, and they’re collecting kids’ personal and contact information to do it.
The organizations running the petition explain that for kids (defined in the act as 13 years and under),
…accessing the digital world comes at the price of being constantly subject to largely invisible forms of data collection. Every click of a child is monitored, and—like adults—they are targeted with interactive ads. Even young online users are tracked and digitally “profiled”—their online records used to sell them junk food, toys, and entertainment. Today, a profile can “shadow” an online user from their laptop to their cell phone and gaming devices. This information, collected by online companies, is of great value to marketers, data brokers, and brands that sell to children and parents alike. Advertisers are able to use their online power to directly influence the behavior of a child, affecting their interests, actions, and identity development.
At 12 years old, COPPA is almost at the age limit of the children it protects. Privacy advocates say it’s overdue for a refresh to take social networks and sophisticated tracking techniques into account, and they’re asking the Federal Trade Commission to revisit the law to make sure it’s up to date.
The advertising industry and social networks like Facebook are pushing hard to prevent these revisions to COPPA because they’d limit how these companies can track kids’ online activity, so it’s up to consumers like you to voice your concern. Please sign the petition and spread the word!