Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Silicon Valley shows increasing concerns about FTC proposals to strengthen enforcement of COPPA on social media

The Business Day section of the Tuesday, Nov. 6 New York Times has a detailed article by Natasha Singer on FTC proposals to tighten rules requiring parental consent before behavior of minors can be tracked online for advertising purposes.  There is a particular concern with social media and the technique of embedding surrogate user id’s in cookies in order to track minor users.

While the FTC idea may seem reasonable, there are concerns that this sets a precedent for requiring the same for adults (although I wonder how that would be different from “do not track”).  Furthermore, websites, as we know from the COPA (to be distinguished from COPPA) litigation, cannot always reliably decide who is a minor online.  There could be a very slippery slope for holding websites responsible for privacy abuses, grounds we already say last year with SOPA.

The story is titled “A trail of clicks, culminating in conflict: Proposal to bolster online privacy rules for children stirs up Silicon Valley”, with link here

There is also a lot of concern that minors will not understand online reputation issues.  "YouTube should not mean 'YouTracked'" one proponent said.

Generally, there does not seem to be much difference between Republicans and Democrats on these issues.  

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