The Washington Post reports on debate over interpretation of the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA):
The Federal Trade Commission says that Facebook is misinterpreting a key children’s privacy law, in a move that could weaken the social network’s argument in a California district court suit over teen privacy on the Web site.
The FTC filed the brief Thursday night, weighing in on a key point for the case, Batman v. Facebook (also known as Fraley v. Facebook). In it, the FTC says Facebook is wrong to say that, because the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA) only protects the privacy of children under 12, that the law could be interpreted to keep states from enforcing their own laws on teen privacy. […]
In a court filing in June, Facebook argued in part that because COPPA protections stop at age 12, that could be read as a clear message that “teenagers’ Internet activities should not be subject to parental consent requirements, even under the auspices of state law.”
But that idea, the FTC said in its own filing, is “wrong and should be rejected.”
“Nothing in the language, structure of legislative history,” the brief said, can be interpreted to “displace state protections of teenagers’ online privacy in their entirety.” […]
The state of California on Friday also filed an amicus brief affirming its right to enforce its state privacy law.