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Children Circumvent COPPA Rules

CHILDREN’S PRIVACY—U.S.

November 29, 2012

Facebook prohibits children under the age of 13 from signing up for an account, per COPPA rules; however, children often lie to get around the age requirement—an estimated five million children under 13 had Facebook accounts this year, according to Consumer Reports. A recent study by the Polytechnic Institute of New York University has found that, “in a given high school, a small portion of students who lie about their age to get a Facebook account can help a complete stranger collect sensitive information about a majority of their fellow students,” The New York Times reports. One of the study’s authors says COPPA seems to encourage kids to lie about their age online. Meanwhile, Rep. Lee Terry (R-NB) will become the new chairman of the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the FTC and its online privacy efforts, including its work on COPPA. (Registration may be required to access this story.)
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