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Proposed COPPA changes would expand biometrics definition

Proposed COPPA changes would expand biometrics definition

Forty-three U.S. states acting as a group have told the Federal Trade Commission they want it to update and strengthen requirements that companies have to follow as part of the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

No, please, says a technology business think tank. The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation says changes proposed by the FTC would go beyond the legislative intent of COPPA, hurting productivity and innovation “for little benefit.”

The FTC is considering new prohibitions on how companies can use and share the personal information of children. It also would reduce a business’ ability to withhold online services until a guardian allows the marketing of children’s data.

The National Association of Attorneys General, comprised of the top legal officer of states and territories, agrees with that and wants the FTC to go farther. Putting the compliance burden on businesses and taking it off parents, for example.

Protected identifiers should be expanded to include face, voice, fingerprint and iris biometrics as well as gait data, DNA data and avatars.

And it would be helpful for states, association members say, if the commission could create a comprehensive template that spells out what constitutes an exception to parental consent requirements.

The business thinktank, however, claims changes being considered would hobble the economy by increasing bureaucratic red tape.

They also exceed COPPA’s original intent, according to the foundation.

It would limit “the collection of persistent identifiers for contextual advertising and adding all forms biometric identifiers” to personal information, it claims.

Instead, personal information should only be “biometric data that identifies a specific individual.” It’s not clear how any biometric measurement, which exists only in relation to a specific individual, could be considered not personal.

The thinktank also would like to avoid the need to get “separate verifiable parental consent” before disclosing a child’s information to third parties. That would be “an unnecessary burden on both parents and businesses.”

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