In the early days of the internet, websites were becoming increasingly more interactive with visitors, allowing users to download games, join discussion groups, exchange email and more. In the course of these developments, websites began collecting information about these users either through voluntary means such as filling out a form or through the use of technologies like cookies. As the internet became more and more accessible, children began using it in greater numbers. Concerned by this trend, the FTC released a report to the U.S. Congress expressing these issues. It noted that there were a rapidly growing number of websites with children as their target audience, and that many were gathering personally identifiable information from them without the parent or guardian’s knowledge. Not only did the FTC have a problem with this, but so did many children’s advocacy groups. In response, Senator Richard Bryan introduced the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act on July 17th, 1998.
After hearings, the bill was quickly passed through Congress and enacted as law in late 1998. Responsibility for enforcement was given to the FTC, which began a rulemaking process during which it invited many corporations involved in information collecting. The American Library Association and the ACLU also submitted input. On November 3, 1999 the FTC issued it’s final rule on COPPA.
You can view a copy of the law here: <a href=”http://www.ftc.gov/ogc/coppa1.htm”>http://www.ftc.gov/ogc/coppa1.htm</a>