October 26, 2017
On October 23, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued a policy enforcement statement providing new direction regarding the application of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (“COPPA”) to the collection of audio voice recordings online. COPPA compliance requirements generally apply to operators of online services that are either directed to children under 13 years of age, or that have actual knowledge that they are collecting personal information from children under the age of 13.
In 2013, the FTC clarified that files containing a child’s image or voice constitute “personal information” within the meaning of COPPA and, therefore, the collection of audio data from children online requires careful legal scrutiny to ensure COPPA compliance.
The FTC’s new policy enforcement statement addressed inquiries regarding whether COPPA is triggered by the collection of audio data that is immediately converted to text and used as a substitute for text, when the audio data is deleted directly after conversion.
What Guidance Did the FTC Provide Regarding COPPA Compliance in the Context of Audio Recordings?