31 advocacy groups are pressuring the FTC this week to investigate how so-called “kidtech” and digital media companies advertise to children and collect their data.
Axios reports that 31 advocacy groups have requested that the FTC use its subpoena powers to launch a probe into “kidtech” companies that advertise to children and collect their data. This request comes as the FTC considers updates to how it will implement a children’s online privacy law.
The group requesting the probe includes the Center for Digital Democracy and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. The groups argue that the FTC must examine data collection and digital marketing practices before the commission changes how it enforces the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
Targets for the FTC in enforcing the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) include Google, Disney, Viacom, Adobe, TikTok, Twitch, and AT&T’s Warner Media. Josh Golin, the executive director of the Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood, said in a statement: “As kids are spending more time than ever on digital devices, we need the full power of the law to protect them from predatory data collection — but we can’t protect children from Big Tech business models if we don’t know how those models truly work.”
Breitbart News reported this week that TikTok has been hit with a lawsuit alleging it violated COPPA by collecting the private data of children without gaining their parents’ explicit consent.
The FTC made changes to COPPA in 2013 in order to take into account how children use the Internet and expand the definition of children’s personal information to include tracking cookies. The FTC generally reviews its rules ever 10 years but announced plans to launch an early review of the protection act due to rapid changes in technology.
Republican FTC Commissioner Christine Wilson has already expressed her support of such a review as well as an expanded investigation into data practices. The FTC’s deadline for comments on changes to the protection act is December 9.