Date of this Version

September 2000

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Postprint of:
Quirk, P., "'Kidz' privacy for sale?", CCH Law and Technology, Issue 25, Sep 2000
Reproduced with the kind permission of CCH Australia Ltd.
For more information see


[Extract] The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is taking a very keen interest in the privacy of children on the Internet. Pursuant to the terms of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act(1998) (COPPA), parents are provided with an opportunity to control what information is collected from their children online, and commercial websites are required to give notice and obtain parents' consent before personal information is collected from children under 13.

This important legislation was prompted by a 1998 FTC survey of 212 Internet sites which found that 89% of children's sites collect personal information from children and yet only 24% of these posted a privacy policy. A mere 1% required prior parental consent before gathering data. The Act, which became effective in late April 2000, is aimed at the operators of commercial websites directed at children and also at operators of general audience websites that knowingly collect information from children. In the latter case, actual rather than constructive knowledge of collection is what is required. Entities which collect data on behalf of commercial operators are also caught by the Act.

Even without COPPA, sites that collect information from children need to be careful in their privacy practices.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.