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Online Personal Data Privacy

Updated: Aug 19, 2020

How can consumers exercise more control over their information when dealing with companies?

Consumers can withhold information they do not wish to share even if it means being denied access to certain apps or websites that require too many details. Once you release certain information, you lose control of how much your information is protected.

How can complying with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) help consumers exercise control over the collection and use of their children's personal data?

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) provides several sections of detailed regulations to protect children while using the internet. Below are the general principles and requirements in sections 312.4 (a) and 312.5 (b). Further sections are readily available on the Federal Trade Commission website.

Section 312.4 (a)

"(a) General principles of notice. It shall be the obligation of the operator to provide notice and obtain verifiable parental consent prior to collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from children. Such notice must be clearly and understandably written, complete, and must contain no unrelated, confusing, or contradictory materials."

Section 312.5 (a)

(a)General requirements.(1) An operator is required to obtain verifiable parental consent before any collection, use, or disclosure of personal information from children, including consent to any material change in the collection, use, or disclosure practices to which the parent has previously consented."

Complying with COPPA could help consumers to exercise control over the collection and use of their personal data because this rule requires the website to obtain parental consent and provide particular disclosures and/or notices to parents prior to the granting of access of content to children. This allows for the parent to control any collection of data about their children or themselves when their children are viewing any online materials. This is an extra layer of protection that should be in addition to the home rules the parent places on the child concerning data protection and general online safety. The legal aspect of COPPA seems to be more so that companies may be held liable in situations where data was obtained or misused through the means of children's online activity.

Who is in the best position to protect consumer privacy and data?  Consumers?  Government? Companies?

Individual responsibility will ultimately reign when considering who is in the best position to protect our own privacy and data as a consumer. It's the consumer who is in the best position.

However, the need for government entities to create and uphold consumer protection laws still remains. Consumers need tools to work with so data protection is not a request without any power backing the protection prior to and in the event of a violation.

Furthermore, a willingness from companies to cooperate is also necessary.

Each participant (consumers, government, companies) is necessary to achieve optimal consumer privacy and data protection.  

How do you protect your data online? Leave us your comments below.