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US tightens rules protecting children's online privacy

Published on Dec 20, 2012 7:03 AM

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The United States (US) government announced tighter rules on Wednesday to protect children's online privacy by restricting the collection of data, like the child's location, unless parents consent.

The actions by the Federal Trade Commission mark an update to rules that were based on the 1998 Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, developed when most computers were big beige boxes sitting under office desks instead of smartphones in backpacks, and online social media was unheard of.

"The Commission takes seriously its mandate to protect children's online privacy in this ever-changing technological landscape," FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in a statement.

Under the updated rule, IP addresses, which are unique to each computer, will be added to the list of personal information that cannot be collected from children without parental consent if the data will be used for behavioral advertising or tracking.

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