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Regulators Propose Tougher Rules For Children's Online Privacy

The Federal Trade Commission is proposing some tougher rules to control the privacy of children online. According to The Washington Post, the proposed rules would make it more difficult for advertisers and social networks to collect information from children.

Reuters adds:

"The Federal Trade Commission, which enforces a 1998 law called the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule, said the changes were needed to take into account the widespread use of mobile devices an d to make website owners responsible for any infractions committed by third parties, such as data brokers.

"'The commission did not foresee how easy and commonplace it would become for child-directed sites and services to integrate social networking and other personal information collection features into the content offered to their users, without maintaining ownership, control or access to the personal data,' the commission said in its proposed rule."

The Post adds that under current law, "sites aimed at children are required by law to ask a parent's permission when collecting personal identifiable information such as e-mail addresses and names." But third party sites like Facebook and Twitter could avoid the requirement.

The FTC also wants to change the definition of "personal information" to include cookies or a "persistent identifier" that "can be used to recognize a user over time, or across different sites or services, where it is used for purposes other than support for internal operations."

The proposed rules are now open for public comment.

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