California Remains a Privacy Bellwether
Hello all, and happy Thursday!Read Now
April 13, 2021
Welcome to Privacy Insider, a round-up of the week's most important stories.
We've all made decisions as kids we wish we hadn't. It wasn't our fault; we couldn't see the big picture. Our worlds were small, and our experiences were limited. So we did things like ride our bikes without a helmet or stay out past our curfews. All we knew was we were after more fun for longer, and our parents' rules just seemed to get in the way.
But our parents enforced dreadful rules (over our screams) because our ability as kids to assess risk hadn't fully developed, which could put us in some risky situations. It's for those same reasons, in part, that a U.S. privacy law aims to protect those 13 years and younger.
The consent framework here in the U.S. operates on notice and choice: A company gives the adult notice they're going to take their data and use it, and the adult can choose to say yes or no. Sometimes, saying no means losing access to the service. The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act requires websites and online services to gain parental consent before collecting children's online data. After all, the parents (ostensibly) understand the risks of sharing personal data in a way kids cannot.
Plenty of sites violate COPPA all day long, 365 days a year. They're just flying under the radar. The 2019 settlement between YouTube and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was the latest COPPA enforcement to make a splash. The FTC collected $170 million, the COPPA settlement to date. But many more would exist if the FTC had the resources to sweep the web for potential cases constantly.
That's why today's news that Disney and several ad-tech firms settled a case alleging they tracked children online without consent is big. The settlement mandates they delete the software used to track underage users. But more importantly, it's a message to industry: Just because kids are easy targets doesn't make them fair game.
Enjoy reading, and I'll see you next week!
The Osano staff is a diverse team of free thinkers who enjoy working as part of a distributed team with the common goal of working to make a more transparent internet. Occasionally, the team writes under the pen name of our mascot, “Penny, the Privacy Pro.”