A host of companies and trade associations are warning the Federal Trade Commission that its proposed revision to children’s online privacy rules will burden tech start-ups and stifle innovation.
The Association for Competitive Technology, which represents mobile app developers, claimed the revised rules would impose $250 million in compliance costs, decimating small app makers.
Microsoft said it is concerned the rules “do not provide clear, practical guidance or result in tangible benefits for children and parents.” The company warned the regulations “could have unintended consequences that would impede, rather than promote, privacy and safety online.”
Wireless carrier trade group CTIA warned that the revision could hinder the ability of children to participate in “positive and valuable Internet-based experiences.”
The FTC is looking to update the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which restricts the ability of websites to collect information from children younger than 13.
COPPA was passed by Congress in 1998, before the rise of smartphones and mobile apps. The FTC unveiled a proposal in August that would expand the law to cover not only websites, but also games, apps, ad networks and other online plug-ins.
The proposal would also ban ads on children’s websites from installing tracking files, known as cookies, on users’ computers. Advertisers install cookies to track users’ browsing history and display targeted ads to them.
The update would allow sites that are aimed at children and adults to create a log-in page for users to reveal whether they are older than 13. Users younger than 13 would still be able to access the sites, but the sites would face restrictions on the use of the children’s information.
Comments on the proposal were due on Tuesday by midnight, and the agency is still posting the responses online.