As of July 1, Web and mobile development pros in the U.S. must comply with a new set of rules related to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA. The law aims to restrict data collection about children under thirteen. Congress first passed COPPA in 1998, but the rules related to the law have been updated to define cookies, geolocation information, photos, videos, audio recordings, IP addresses and mobile device IDs as personal information, which apps cannot collect without parental permission.
However, some developers have expressed confusion about how to comply with the new law. “How do we make the goals of COPPA function in a technological world where a parent might hand their tablet computer from the front seat of the car to the back seat of the car?” asked Morgan Reed, executive director of the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT). “How does the developer know when he has to change behavior?”
Violating COPPA can result in fines up to $16,000 per violation.