The U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Department of Communications and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America issued the following statement in support of the Federal Trade Commission’s revisions to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) that were announced on December 20.
“We applaud the Federal Trade Commission and Chairman Jon Leibowitz for these important steps to keep children safe in the ever-evolving digital world,” said Helen Osman, Secretary of Communications for the USCCB. “The Commission is to be especially commended for setting guidelines for website operators regarding the release of children’s personal information to companies and for reasonable procedures for data retention and deletion.”
COPPA was passed by Congress in 1998 and is designed to enable parents to decide how and whether Internet companies and operators can collect and use personal information from children under the age of 13.
“These revisions are greatly needed by the parents and families in our parishes who continue to express to us their concerns about keeping their children safe online,” said Father Mark Arey, Ecumenical Officer of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.”In particular, they often speak about their concern about collection of their children’s personal information (such as photos, videos and geolocation information) and so we are pleased that the new COPPA rules address this.”
The USCCB and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America represent over 77 million people in the United States and are committed to a safe Internet environment, especially for children. In the spring of 2013 the USCCB Committee on Communications and the Greek Orthodox Church of America will release an online Digital Safety Guide for parents and faith communities.