Senator Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, has asked Apple, Google, and the Association for Competitive Technology to respond to questions to help determine whether the applications running on their mobile platforms comply which the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). COPPA requires operators of certain websites and online services to obtain parental consent before collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from children under the age of 13.

It is not entirely clear whether COPPA applies to mobile applications. In connection with a review of the regulations implementing COPPA, the Federal Trade Commission asked for public comment on whether COPPA’s text is broad enough to cover mobile applications. Separately, Rep. Markey introduced a bill last week that would amend COPPA to explicitly cover “mobile applications” and “online applications” — terms which would be defined by the FTC.