On January 8, 2018, the FTC announced an agreement with electronic toy manufacturer, VTech Electronics Limited and its U.S. subsidiary, settling charges that VTech violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) by collecting personal information from hundreds of thousands of children without providing direct notice or obtaining their parent’s consent, and failing to take reasonable steps to secure the data it collected. Under the agreement, VTech will (1) pay a $650,000 civil penalty; (2) implement a comprehensive data security program, subject to independent audits for 20 years; and (3) comply with COPPA. This is the FTC’s first COPPA case involving connected toys and the Internet of Things.

Recently, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (“OPC”) issued its 2017 Global Privacy Enforcement Network Sweep results (the “Report”), which focused on certain privacy practices of online educational tools and services targeted at classrooms. The OPC examined the privacy practices of two dozen educational websites and apps used by K-12 students. The “sweep” sought to replicate the consumer experience by interacting with the websites and apps, and recording the privacy practices and controls in place. The overarching theme of the Report is “user controls over personal information,” which the OPC further refined into four subthemes: (1) transparency, (2) consent, (3) age-appropriate collection and disclosure, and (4) deletion of personal information. Continue Reading Canadian Privacy Commissioner Issues Report on Children’s Educational Apps

On October 23, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission issued a policy enforcement statement providing additional guidance on the applicability of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (“COPPA Rule”) to the collection of children’s audio voice recordings. The FTC previously updated the COPPA Rule in 2013, adding voice recordings to the definition of personal information, which led to questions about how the COPPA Rule would be enforced against organizations who collect a child’s voice recording for the sole purpose of issuing a command or request.

Continue Reading FTC Issues Policy Statement on COPPA and Voice Recordings

On October 4, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Education (“DOE”) announced that they will co-host a workshop to explore privacy issues related to education technology. The Ed Tech Workshop, which will take place on December 1, 2017 in Washington, D.C., will examine how the FTC’s Rule implementing the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) applies to schools and intersects with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), which is administered by the DOE.

Continue Reading FTC and DOE to Host Workshop on Privacy Issues Related to Education Technology

On June 21, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission updated its guidance, Six-Step Compliance Plan for Your Business, for complying with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”). The FTC enforces the COPPA Rule, which sets requirements regarding children’s privacy and safety online. The updated guidance adds new information on situations where COPPA applies and steps to take for compliance. Continue Reading FTC Releases Guidance on COPPA Compliance

On April 19, 2017, the FTC announced that it is seeking public comment on proposed changes to TRUSTe, Inc.’s safe harbor program under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (the “Proposed Changes”). As we previously reported, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced that TRUSTe agreed to settle allegations that it failed to properly verify that customer websites aimed at children did not run third-party software to track users. The Proposed Changes are a result of the settlement agreement between TRUSTe and the New York Attorney General. Continue Reading FTC Seeks Comment on Proposed Changes to TRUSTe’s COPPA Safe Harbor Program

On April 6, 2017, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced that privacy compliance company TRUSTe, Inc., agreed to settle allegations that it failed to properly verify that customer websites aimed at children did not run third-party software to track users. According to Attorney General Schneiderman, the enforcement action taken by the NY AG is the first to target a privacy compliance company over children’s privacy. Continue Reading Privacy Compliance Company Agrees to a Settlement with the New York Attorney General

On October 31, 2016, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China held a third reading of the draft Cybersecurity Law (the “third draft”). As we previously reported, the second draft of the Cybersecurity Law was published for comment in June. The National People’s Congress has not yet published the full text of the third draft of the Cybersecurity Law. Continue Reading China’s Cybersecurity Law Undergoes Third Reading

Recently, the Cyberspace Administration of China published for public comment a draft of the Regulations on the Online Protection of Minors (“Draft Regulations”). The Draft Regulations are open for comment until October 31, 2016. Continue Reading Regulation on the Online Protection of Minors Published for Comment in China