A Federal Trade Commission source has confirmed that the agency is in the process of moving enforcement of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act from its Advertising Practices division to its Privacy and Identity Protection division. The move, launched by outgoing chairman Jon Leibowitz, will take several months, according to the source.
That will mean some shuffling of oversight duties, but beyond that it also puts children's online protection rule enforcement alongside other privacy protection issues. "The idea is to centralize the privacy programs under one roof," said the source, "so that the COPPA side can take advantage of the expertise that the privacy division already has.
The move makes sense, given that PIP was not around when COPPA first was adopted in 1996. The law restricts how kids under 13 can be tracked and marketed to online.
The FTC recently issued updates to its rules enforcing COPPA that strengthen the protections, including by include bringing geolocation, cookies (plug-ins) and behavioral targeting explicitly within the rules.
Updating COPPA for the digital age has been one of the key goals of Leibowitz' tenure at the agency.