coppa news

My name is Greg Kudasz and I operate this site. I first became interested in COPPA after seeing disturbing interactions between adults and children on YouTube. I knew Google’s (and thus YouTube’s) policy was that members had to be over 13 but at first did not know about COPPA’s role in setting age policies. After learning about the law I set out to alert Google in cases that I thought were egregious such as a kid revealed their age as being particularly young and had a following of adults that appeared to be seeking an inappropriate level of PII. I called this the intersection of privacy in safety.

During my research I learned that COPPA is an enigma. I do not advocate for or against it. I believe it is important to aggregate information about it so people have a better understanding how the law does and does not work. I have met with three out of four of the Big 4 (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Google) and have discovered back doors that can be used by parents or concerned citizens to report underage users when they feel there may be inappropriate contact. In general these sites (and most others) avoid inheritingactual knowledge that a child is on their site which allows them to keep their head in the sand.

For the most part I leave the safety issues to others and am grateful to have made good contacts in that arena. I am also glad to have rapport with present and future Safe Harbors and verifiable consent providers.

COPPA aims to protect children’s privacy and safety and that’s a good aim. But the sites that are most beneficial to children that are for profit (not for profit organizations are exempt under COPPA) are heavily burdened by the law while sites that are exempt because they are general interest are likely making billions of dollars on children with impunity. I find that perplexing when coupled with the fact that enforcement actions are extremely rare thus motivating sites to take a gamble knowing they are unlikely to be caught. Fines versus child safety should not be a risk that sites are willing to take but more often than not, that is the business model.

My main interests are in technology. I am an 8-year veteran of Microsoft where I designed the forerunner to Windows Update. I have worked as a child advocate as guardian ad litem (known elsewhere as CASA) for two judicial districts in North Carolina. I am interested in open government including public records and am an associate member of the Society of Professional Journalists partly for emersion in their ethics policy.

This strives to be an aggregator and jump point for COPPA resources with the occasional editorial. Links are not endorsements. Third party content in the News section contains only a preview. Please click on the provided link for the full story.

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October 2020
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