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IAB Supports Children’s Online Privacy, Warns FTC Against Rules Jeopardizing Access to Safe, Healthy Content


WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to proposed changes by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to its Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule, Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has filed public comments expressing members’ commitment to protecting children’s online privacy and access to safe, age-appropriate content. The trade association also questions departures from precedent that could jeopardize online products and services for a variety of audiences.

Broadening the definition of “personally identifiable information” new FTC rules could prevent photo, video and voice applications common in gaming and other media, as well as screen names, avatars and other features that have become standard practice online, according to IAB.

The FTC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) could “eviscerate COPPA’s support for the internal operations exception,” allowing anonymous data collection, aggregation and analysis for the purposes of fraud detection, product improvement, payment and delivery functions, optimization, statistical reporting, and other basic business functions.

Congress passed the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, or COPPA, to define FTC authority over websites or online services directed to children under 13 years of age.

“We support online privacy for kids, but some of these changes would make it extremely difficult for companies to offer any products or services at all. The FTC is proposing to ban identifiers that encourage or prompt use of a website or online service,’ but that could mean anything,” said Lartease Tiffith, Executive Vice President for Public Policy at IAB. “The FTC has long recognized repeatedly that collecting identifiers… is fundamental to the smooth functioning of the Internet, the quality of the site or service, and the individual’s user experience,” he writes in today’s filing.

Contextual advertising clearly falls under that category, he writes. “The Commission should not disturb the longstanding position that contextual advertising falls within the support for internal operations exception.”

“Data-driven advertising supports and subsidizes the online content and services consumers, including children, rely on and expect. Regulation that impedes data-driven advertising has the potential to disrupt or decrease the varied and enriching content children can access and learn from online.”

About IAB
The Interactive Advertising Bureau empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy. Its membership comprises more than 700 leading media companies, brands, agencies, and the technology firms responsible for selling, delivering, and optimizing digital ad marketing campaigns. The trade group fields critical research on interactive advertising, while also educating brands, agencies, and the wider business community on the importance of digital marketing. In affiliation with the IAB Tech Lab, IAB develops technical standards and solutions. IAB is committed to professional development and elevating the knowledge, skills, expertise, and diversity of the workforce across the industry. Through the work of its public policy office in Washington, D.C., the trade association advocates for its members and promotes the value of the interactive advertising industry to legislators and policymakers. Founded in 1996, IAB is headquartered in New York City.

IAB Media Contacts
Kate Tumino / Brittany Tibaldi
212-896-1252 / 347-487-6794
[email protected]/ [email protected]