US proposes tougher online privacy for children

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WASHINGTON—A US regulator Wednesday proposed tougher standards to protect privacy and collection of data of children using the Internet.

The Federal Trade Commission unveiled a proposal to expand the scope of privacy rule not just to website operators, but to third-party applications and “plug-ins” which may be on social networks or on mobile phones.

The proposal would modify the definitions of “operator” and “website or online service directed to children”

“This change would make clear that an operator of a child-directed site or service that chooses to integrate the services of others that collect personal information from its visitors should itself be considered a covered ‘operator’ under the rule,” the FTC said in a statement.

The move comes after Facebook said it was working on technology that would permit children under the age of 13 to use the social network site with parental supervision.

Facebook currently requires members to be at least 13, but the new effort is being made because many children lie about their age to get access to the world’s biggest social network.

A 2010 investigation by The Wall Street Journal found that popular children’s websites installed more data-gathering technology on computers than websites aimed at adults.

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