The law and policy of internet and digital technology use

Tag Archives: Privacy

FTC Updates COPPA Guidance for Connected Toys

COPPA regulates websites and online services that collect personal information from kids under 13. The FTC revised its COPPA Compliance Plan for businesses a few days ago. The major revisions address “changes in technology,” namely the proliferation of connected toys and other internet-connected devices aimed at kids.

In this revised guidance, the FTC concludes that online services include internet-connected toys and other internet-connected devices that collect personal information from children under 13. If a toy or device collects pictures of the child, for example, it’s covered. If it records the child’s actions or voice, that’s covered too. If it uses persistent identifiers associated with a child, that’s also in. The same for toys that collect geolocation data which would disclose the child’s location.

If you make an implicated product, you’ll need a COPPA-compliant privacy policy. A compliant policy properly discloses the PI your business collects from kids, as well as that collected by any third-party. The policy must also explain parents’ rights under COPPA. You’ll also have to give affected parents direct notice of these things and get their verified consent to the collection of PI.

The new Plan does identify two new options for obtaining verified parental consent—knowledge-based authentication questions and facial recognition against a verified photo ID.

COPPA makes some exceptions. The FTC views these exceptions as applicable to “a narrow class of personal information” in “certain circumstances.” Be careful if you intend to rely on one of them.

HIPAA and the Cloud—Considerations for Cloud Service Providers Serving Covered Entities and Business Associates

This is the flip side of last week’s post. Here’s a quick summary of some key compliance points for Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) who serve medical practitioners and their business associates. (1) Information de-identified per HIPAA’s Privacy Rule is not ePHI. If that’s all a CSP is hosting, HIPAA will not regulate the hosting. (2) CSPs can… Continue Reading

US Issues “Significant Guidance” on Privacy Rights of Transgender Students

A couple of months ago, the civil rights units of the United States Departments of Justice and Education issued a “significant guidance” letter to schools concerning the requirements of Title IX and FERPA that apply to transgender students. The anti-discrimination aspects of this guidance got fair play in the press, but the privacy notes were overlooked.… Continue Reading

White House Issues Interim Progress Report on Big Data

Earlier this month, the White House released its Interim Progress Report on implementation of the recommendations made by its big data and privacy working group. Highlights: (1) Draft legislation implementing a revised Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights (first published for comment in 2012) will be released by the end of the month. (2) The administration… Continue Reading