COPPA - Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (United States of America)

Official Name

COPPA or Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act - 15 U.S.C. 6501-6508.

Details About the COPPA

The bill has been in effect since 2000. 

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act is part of the USA’s Code of Federal Regulations (Title 16, Subchapter C) and is meant to prohibit “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in connection with the collection, use, and/or disclosure of personal information from and about children on the Internet.”

This law applies to companies and organizations that knowingly collect data about children under the age of 13 who are located in the United States. 
COPPA requires websites, apps and other online entities to obtain parental consent for the collection of a child’s personal information - which can be translated into the following: 
(1) A first and last name; 
(2) A home or other physical address including street name and name of a city or town; 
(3) Online contact information as defined in this section; 
(4) A screen or user name where it functions in the same manner as online contact information, as defined in this section; 
(5) A telephone number; 
(6) A Social Security number; 
(7) A persistent identifier that can be used to recognize a user over time and across different websites or online services. Such persistent identifiers include, but are not limited to, a customer number held in a cookie, an Internet Protocol (IP) address, a processor or device serial number, or unique device identifier; 
(8) A photograph, video, or audio file where such file contains a child's image or voice; 
(9) Geolocation information sufficient to identify street name and name of a city or town; or 
(10) Information concerning the child or the parents of that child that the operator collects online from the child and combines with an identifier described in this definition.

COPPA’s definition of a “website or online service” that might collect and distribute personal information of children includes:

  • mobile apps that send or receive information online (like network-connected games, social networking apps, or apps that deliver behaviorally-targeted ads)
  • internet-enabled gaming platforms
  • plug-ins
  • advertising networks
  • internet-enabled location-based services
  • voice-over internet protocol services
  • connected toys or other IoT devices

Resources About the COPPA:

Official legislation here 
A legal perspective here