Greetings from Portsmouth, New Hampshire!
August has come and gone, and September’s arrival has elicited mixed emotions for yours truly. Fall is unconditionally my favorite season. The weather is perfect, Halloween and Thanksgiving are wonderful and, at the risk of torpedoing my credibility within the first paragraph of this letter, I also look forward to a few pieces of candy corn. Of course, the highlight of the season is the return of football and 21 weeks of glorious TV watching.
On the other side, we are getting closer to winter, and as possibly the only New Englander who does not partake in any winter sports, I am dreading the first snowfall. You can keep your “Winter Wonderland.”
The end of summer also means school is back in session, which may be a melancholy moment for parents as they watch their children take another step toward adulthood. Or maybe it is a relief. I don’t have kids. I won’t judge.
Speaking of kids, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has started its journey to revamp the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. My colleague Joseph Duball covered the nine topics the FTC laid out for a potential COPPA overhaul and spoke with privacy professionals to assess what this review means and whether it will be up to the FTC or a federal U.S. privacy law to truly improve privacy protections for children.
One company that has children’s privacy on the brain is YouTube, which recently announced it will roll out a separate website for kids in order to comply with COPPA. This move comes after it announced it will stop sending targeted ads toward children as it works to fulfill its settlement with the FTC. A group of lawmakers also asked more than 50 companies about the information they gather on students and how it is used.
If you watched a lot of episodes of “The Simpsons” in the 1990s as I did, you may remember Helen Lovejoy always asking, “Won’t someone please think of the children?” during one of Springfield’s outrageous town halls, which often turned into unruly mobs. Well, it turns out Washington is, in fact, thinking about the children, and it looks like Silicon Valley is starting to come along for the ride. Lawmakers may be thinking about children’s privacy for a long time to come, since, as Duball wrote in his piece, it took three years for the last set of COPPA amendments to be approved back in 2013.
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