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The time is now for COPPA compliance

Summary of Senate Commerce Hearing on “Examining Safeguards for Consumer Data Privacy”

“Hold my hand when crossing the street.” “Don’t touch that.” “Five more minutes and that’s it.” These are common instructions parents have given their children for generations. But, over the past two decades, technology has changed the way we have to protect and safeguard our children.

Today, the online behaviors of our young people are more grounded in smartphones, mobile games or tablet usage than ever before. And kids start using devices earlier and earlier. In fact, children are now one of the fastest growing online audiences. UNICEF reports that more than 175,000 kids globally go online for the first time every day.

Policymakers are eager to ensure that children’s privacy remains protected as their online behaviors evolve. In the last year alone, major companies such as TikTok and YouTube have faced significant fines for violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), the primary children’s privacy law in the U.S.

Beyond strict enforcement of existing laws, policymakers are also considering new privacy protections. Just last week, the Federal Trade Commission hosted a workshop with leaders in media, technology, and policy to discuss new regulations for how data, online services, and children’s online media behaviors relate to one another. It was clear throughout the workshop that misconceptions exist within the media ecosystem in terms of what is allowed and what should be allowed when working with children and online services.

Now more than ever, media industry professionals need to be aware of the intricacies of their business practices whenever advertising to children is involved. This is why IAB’s Data Center of Excellence tackled this issue in their new release entitled, “Guide to Navigating COPPA- Recommendations for compliance in an increasingly regulated children’s media environment.” This document outlines clear and precise recommendations for brands, advertising technology providers, and publishers on how to engage children online while maintaining compliance to COPPA. The document also provides a look ahead to new and developing children’s privacy laws, such as the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), that will have profound effects for the advertising industry for years to come.

In response to children’s changing online behaviors and greater regulatory scrutiny, businesses across the advertising supply chain must carefully examine their business practices and educate their teams about compliance. IAB remains committed to helping our members and the entire marketing community navigate this landscape and thrive in the digital economy.

For many more details on how publishers, brands, and ad tech providers can educate themselves on this issue, download the Guide to Navigating COPPA here.

Authors

Author
Joe Pilla
Director, Data & Automation
at IAB