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The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) is currently accepting public comments on the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) as part of their review process for a pending proactive legislative update. COPPA is not due for review until 2023 but because of the “rapid technological changes that impact the online children’s marketplace” the FTC believes it is imperative to reevaluate COPPA’s protections now. Although decades old, COPPA has increasingly made headlines, most recently as part of the FTC’s settlement with YouTube and their parent company, Google, for a $170 million fine—the largest COPPA fine ever levied—for alleged violations of the legislation. Online children’s content creators, app developers, and marketers are nervous that enhancing protections under the law will negatively impact their business, particularly an advertising impact. The collection and sale of personal information can affect advertising revenue because contextual advertising that is not unique to a user earns 60% to 90% less than behavioral advertising that requires the collection and generally a transaction of personal information. However, COPPA is no longer the only privacy legislation concerning the collection of children’s personal information online. The first provisions of the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) go into effect January 1, 2020 as the first US privacy law to meet the modern international trend of increasing privacy protections. The CCPA was passed in 2018 and has already served as model to Nevada’s updated privacy law that went into effect October 1, 2019. But as a state law, how will CCPA interact with existing federal legislation concerning children? The CCPA applies to out-of-state merchants who do business with Californians or have a website available in the state. Since California is the world’s fifth largest economy, “rather than create separate systems…companies will just apply the CCPA nationwide—especially in light of larger societal trends in favor of privacy,” so consumers on a national level may be exposed to tighter privacy practices online.

This post was originally published on the Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal website on November 18, 2019. The original post can be accessed via the Archived Link button above.

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