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Old 09-20-12, 04:00 PM   #1
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Post How changes to a kids' privacy law could chill innovation for everyone

This post is part of our "DCoded" series, a partnership with the Center for Democracy & Technology in Washington, DC. Each installment provides a look at the most important bills, regulations, and think tankery on issues that will affect your Internet and mobile experience.

Ever wondered why most Terms of Service include a seemingly arbitrary age cut-off, banning users who are under 13? It's because of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which restricts the collection of personal information from kids on the Internet. Sites like Club Penguin or Radio Disney that are aimed at children under 13 are required to get verifiable parental consent before collecting personal information from children. Instead, most sites simply ban users under the age of 13'Facebook is a famous example'rather than deal with COPPA's notice and parental consent requirements.

It's not a perfect system, but it has worked fairly well in limiting the amount of information collected from children'while leaving the rest of the Internet alone. But now the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is proposing changes to COPPA that could create barriers to innovation and access to information for everyone.

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