By: Ronald G. London The Federal Trade Commission has added to its recently revised “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQs) to assist covered entities in complying with the first major update of regulations implementing the Children’s Online Privacy Prevention Act (COPPA Rule). The question-and-answer pairs are more clearly organized by topic and provide additional guidance, largely for ad networks. Specifically:
- One new FAQ provides greater latitude for ad networks that find out after the new rules’ effective date that they have been collecting personal information from a child-directed website, by allowing continued use of converted data and persistent identifiers under certain circumstances.
- The new FAQs also limit the circumstances somewhat where ad networks are deemed to have “actual knowledge” of the child-directed nature of sites from which they collect personal information. For example, one FAQ clarifies that knowledge gained by an ad network’s employees will less likely be attributed to the ad network if the ad network prominently discloses on its site or service the methods by which the ad network can be directly contacted with COPPA information.
- A related FAQ allows ad networks to rely on first-party affirmative representations of their non-child-directed status, including through signaling from the embedding webpage, so long as the ad network does not separately discover additional indicia of a website’s child-directed nature. If such additional indicia are “inconclusive,” the ad network may still ordinarily continue to rely on the site’s or service’s specific affirmative representations.
- Another new FAQ further establishes that, without more, the receipt of a list of websites (or services) claimed to be child-directed from parents’ organizations, advocacy groups, or similar entities is not enough to be deemed “actual knowledge” with respect to those websites or services.