Magazine article Editor & Publisher

FTC's Relief Remedy

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

FTC's Relief Remedy

Article excerpt

Online papers collecting data from kids now know the rx

A sigh of relief was how Susan Mernit responded last week to the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) final ruling on how to implement the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) of 1998.

Mernit, executive director of React.com and Yucky.com, works closely with children online as they interact with the Web version of her kids-oriented newspaper supplement. For her, the ruling had the potential to limit that interaction - and online limitations could have crippled print as well for a kids' product with more than 200 newspaper partners.

The FTC ruling requires commercial Web sites to get verifiable parental consent before collecting, using, or disclosing personal data from children under the age of 13.

The FTC released its final ruling on the COPPA Oct. 20 and "newspapers, although not directly impacted, need to be aware of it," said Rene P. Milam, assistant general counsel and director of legal affairs at the Newspaper Association of America (NAA). "Online newspapers that collect data from children will have to alter their practices." The NAA plans to notify members this week about compliance requirements, she added.

Robert Larson also was relieved that the final ruling was slightly more lenient than expected. …

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