DMA Seeks Extension to COPPA Rule Deadline

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and 18 other trade associations—including the US Chamber of Commerce and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)—have sent a letter to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Secretary Donald Clark requesting an extended deadline to implement the December 2012 amendments to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule. The original deadline was July 1, 2013, giving companies a six month timeframe to comply with the COPPA Rule changes; the associations are requesting January 1, 2014.

The associations say an extension is necessary because companies need more time to adapt to the changes that will be required of their business practices. Specifically, they argue that some of the final amendments to the Rule had unanticipated changes—such as an expanded definition of “personal information.” The associations worry these changes will require businesses to take on the large task of overhauling their products and services, which will significantly impact established business models. Moreover, the amended COPPA Rule stipulates that first-party operators will be held legally responsible for third-party data collection efforts beneficial to the first party. In other words, if a company’s data services provider fails to comply with the amendments, the company that hired them is culpable.

Another issue impacting the ability for companies to implement the COPPA Rule changes, the letter says, is the fact that an expected FAQ from the FTC will not be released until early May.

Edit: The FTC on April 25 released an updated FAQ.

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