Statement of Dr. Kathryn C. Montgomery, who led the campaign for the passage of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), commenting on the FTC children’s privacy lawsuit announced today against Sony BMG Music Entertainment
I applaud the FTCâ€™s actions to enforce the Childrenâ€™s Online Privacy Protection Act. The governmentâ€™s lawsuit against SONY sends a strong signal to the online industry that this law must be taken seriously. COPPA was designed to protect children under the age of 13 from unfair data collection and manipulation by online marketers. Congress passed the law ten years ago to establish a clear set of safeguards and principles that were built into the foundation of the emerging digital marketplace. However, in recent years, online data collection has become increasingly sophisticated, expanding into a variety of new platforms — from social networks to mobile phones to interactive games — that are now central tools in young peoplesâ€™ their lives. In the new administration of President-elect Barack Obama, both the FTC and Congress must support additional policies that will extend COPPAâ€™s mandate and create privacy protections for all children under the age of 18.
Kathryn C. Montgomery, Ph.D, is Professor of Communication at American University in Washington, DC.