The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has voted unanimously to retain the July 1, 2013 effective date for its revisions to the rule implementing the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).  As we previously wrote, the FTC adopted significant revisions to the COPPA rule in December 2012 and established a July 1, 2013 effective date.  In recent weeks, nineteen consumer groups signed a letter opposing any delay in the effective date, while approximately twenty industry associations signed a letter arguing in favor of extending the effective date.  In late April, the FTC published updated Frequently Asked Questions on its website to provide additional guidance for complying with the revised COPPA rule.

Today, the Commission responded to the industry associations’ letter and informed them that it would retain the July 1, 2013 effective date.  The Commission acknowledged that the revised rule “does impose new obligations on child-directed sites and services,” but explained that, “in selecting an effective date of July 1, 2013, the Commission determined that six months would be adequate time for such operators to assess whether third parties collect personal information through their site or service.”    

Although the Commission did not extend the effective date, it did pledge to “exercise prosecutorial discretion in enforcing the Rule, particularly with respect to small business that have attempted to comply with the Rule in good faith in the early months” following July 1.