App developers ask FTC to delay rollout of updated children's privacy rules

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The FTC unveiled its updates to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, known as COPPA, in December. The 1998 law restricts websites from knowingly collecting information from children younger than 13 years-old.

In the revised rules, the FTC expanded the scope of COPPA to include games, apps, ad networks along with websites. The Alliance voiced concern about the updated rules following their release, warning that they could be expensive to implement and lead responsible developers to stop making apps for children.

In the Alliance's letter to FTC Chairman Edith Ramirez, Potter argues that the FTC has not issued guidance to developers or their partners about the revised rules, forcing small companies to decide whether to "use their own best judgment or hire law firms for assessments that they really cannot afford." He also said it would take time for developers to ensure their apps' user interfaces both comply with the revised rules and meet their own quality standards.

Potter argued that app companies partner with a range of businesses to develop their software, including ad networks and storage providers, so it will take time for them to coordinate with these various entities to implement the revised rules.

Many Alliance members that are currently COPPA-compliant are "ill-prepared for the rapidly-approaching implementation deadline as they are still trying to understand their changes responsibilities," Potter writes.

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