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Advertisers and developers ask FTC to delay new children's protection laws

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school bus (STOCK)
school bus (STOCK)

On July 1st, the US Federal Trade Commission is set to start enforcing a new set of amendments to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which would introduce stronger controls on what information sites can collect from children under 13. But according to AdWeek, developers and advertisers want more time to comply with the rules. The Interactive Advertising Bureau, it says, has asked the FTC to delay implementing its new rules by six months, in part because it's still waiting for some clarifications on what the new amendments will require. We've reached out to confirm this but did not immediately receive a reply.

COPPA already affects how developers can operate: unless parents have consented, apps and sites can't collect things like full names, home addresses, or email addresses for children. Social network Path was fined $800,000 in February for accepting users under 13 years of age and gathering information from them. But the new rules would expand COPPA's reach, restricting developers from collecting location data, photos, or videos without parental consent and expanding its rules to apply to third-party plugins or advertisers.

That means sites will need to figure out whether they comply in the next couple of months, and some complain that the new rules will hamper their ability to make kid-focused content. Mike Zaneis of the IAB, for example, warns AdWeek that developers will need to decide whether they can continue depending on ad revenue or whether it will be easier to run on a paywall-based model. Just as developers have managed to comply with the original set of COPPA rules, though, it's likely that online children's programming will survive this update — whether it happens in July or later this year.

Update: The IAB has confirmed the request for an extension, which would push enforcement back to January 1st, 2014. Speaking with us, Zaneis reiterated that he sees the new COPPA as potentially moving companies towards a paywall model, since advertising agencies may find it difficult to follow the new rules. "We'll probably see a couple of ad networks emerge over time that might be able to verify themselves as being COPPA compliant," he says, "but right now I don't believe there are any networks that can make that claim."