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Marketing to Children and Using Their Data

POPIA requires that children need to have the consent of a parent, guardian, or responsible adult (e.g., a school teacher) before a company can process their data. This approach can be found in the EU Regulation (GDPR) and in the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).  It has been a decade since the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last updated the COPPA, which governs the collection of personal information from children under 13. It was this law that SA used as a model for its POPIA rule – except in SA the age of a “child” in POPIA is under 18 years.

Over the last 10 years, there has been significant innovation in the digital space, with countless new apps, smart devices, messaging tools, and other online experiences. available for children and adults. These modern technologies bring new opportunities and new risks, and the FTC may need to update its rule or—as President Biden called for in his 2022 State of the Union address—Congress may need to update children’s privacy law to keep up with these changes. Meanwhile, as we have reported in this Newsletter previously, the number of US states adopting general privacy laws is steadily increasing. There is no federal privacy law in the USA only the COPPA, CanSpam Act, and financial privacy rules.

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