Federal Trade Commission updates children's online privacy protection rule

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has updated its Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule to strengthen privacy protections for children and give parents more control over the personal information that websites and online services may collect from children under 13. APA and a broad coalition of partner organizations encouraged the FTC to update the rule to reflect the growing use of newer technologies, such as social networks and smartphone apps. Under the new FTC rule, which was released on Jan. 17, websites and smartphone apps will have to obtain parental consent before gathering photos, videos or geographic location of children, and before tracking children's online behavior. Websites that collect information on children will be required to protect it, keep it “for only as long as is reasonably necessary,” and then delete it safely.