Washingtonpost.com writes that the US federal government on Wednesday announced a landmark update to child online privacy laws, establishing guidelines that make it harder to track a gadget-obsessed generation with constant access to the Web.
The Federal Trade Commission’s new rules come amid a two-year debate over how far the government should go to protect the privacy of children 12 and younger without curbing the business practices of a thriving Web economy that relies on their data for advertising.
Under new amendments, the FTC said firms must seek permission from parents to collect a child’s photographs, videos and geo-locational information — all content that social media, online games and mobile devices have made easy to share.
The aim of the revisions, the FTC said, was to clarify that much of today’s most popular uses of the Web should be more closely guarded when done by children.
“The commission takes seriously its mandate to protect children’s online privacy in this ever-changing technological landscape,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz in a statement.
A company such as Google or Viacom must also have a parent’s consent before using tracking tools, such as cookies, which use IP addresses and mobile device IDs to follow a child’s Web activity across multiple apps and sites.
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