Monday, December 10, 2007

Children's Online Privacy Protection Act Enforcement in Texas

As described in this article from Computer World, the Texas attorney general has sued two web sites for violations of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). According to the article, the two sites collected personal information from children under the age of 13 without obtaining sufficient verification of parental consent, and without giving the children the opportunity to review or pull back the data.
There are two things I find particularly interesting about the article. First, this article is another demonstration (to me) that law enforcement in Texas is taking its responsibilities regarding individual privacy relatively seriously. As described previously here, this year the Texas attorney general has repeatedly brought suit based on violations of privacy law, for example, for improper disposal of customer records. Thus, the actions by the Texas attorney general show what can be done if state law enforcement is willing to take an active role. The second thing I found interesting about the article was it stated that this enforcement by the Texas attorney general was the first to be brought under COPPA. COPPA was passed in 1998. To me, that shows just how far we have to go in terms of actually enforcing even the (relatively minimial) privacy protections that the law does provide.

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