Proposed FTC COPPA Changes Include Yet ANOTHER Call for National ID

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Internet Attorney Richard B. Newman keeps me apprised of important legal issues that affect all of us and I make sure others know about them.

The day after the FTC announced proposed changes to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), Richard had already done an in-depth analysis on how COPPA changes will affect businesses, publishers, advertisers and mobile app developers.

The next three quotes are from that analysis:

“The FTC has now proposed significant modifications to COPPA that will have a significant effect on the operation of websites, online services, and mobile applications that collect personal information from children.”

Lest anyone discount the huge impact these changes can have on all of us, the same day that his analysis was published by Adotas, Mashable published How Would You Change COPRA and the Wall Street Journal wrote about these proposed changes to the Web Privacy Rules.

“The FTC has clarified that COPPA applies not only to websites, but also to technologies that can be considered “online services.”  This includes mobile apps that permit children to play network-connected games, engage in social networking activities, and some text messages. “

Most of the coverage thus far of these proposed changes fails to analyze how they will affect those doing business on the Internet or Internet users. Hopefully in the near future there will be more comprehensive analyses of how those impacts.

“The definition of “personal information” has also been expanded and will almost certainly impact companies’ behavioral advertising activities. “

Special thanks to their Editor Gavin Dunaway for recognizing the importance and publishing Richard’s analysis on how COPRA will affect businesses which I encourage anyone working online to read and understand.

I suspect the way many sites will deal with these requirements is to have users check a box claiming they are over 13 – something that many already do and which can not be verified – at least not easily – which leads me to point out something related but of broader danger to Americans who love freedom and privacy.

The changes proposed by the FTC to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act include a proposal to have parents provide “government-issued ID numbers that the operator can check against a database”.

How many different ways will a national ID system be foisted upon us in the name of the illusion of keeping us or children safe? All of these have been given as reasons we would be safer if we all had to present our papers everywhere we go to do anything and everything in life:

  • Prevent another 9-11 incident
  • Enhance national security
  • Unmask potential terrorists
  • Guard against illegal immigrants
  • Fight crime and make our neighborhood’s safer
  • And now keep our children safe

Nothing could be further from the truth. Multiple bills have been proposed and will continue to be proposed and wording pushing us towards the use of a National ID system for every reason under the sun will continue.

That is why we are continually losing our freedom: because those who want ultimate power have persistence and a long term view AND they are very sneaky about hiding what they want in unrelated legislation. Consider this:

In September of 1996, President Clinton signed into law, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. Buried at approximately page 650 of the new national Defense Bill, also known as Public Law 104-208, Part B, Title IV, the American public was given a national ID card. With no fanfare, no publicity and no scrutiny, the bill easily avoided the watchful eyes of even its most aggressive opponents.

I encourage you to read the Electronic Frontier Foundation Organization’s (EFF) official position against a National ID which they call “A Solution in Search of a Problem” and refute each and every one of the so-called reasons we need a National ID system.

There is a growing movement at the state level to oppose a national ID system that I encourage everyone to get behind while we still can. Ask anyone from the UK how many CCTV video cameras monitor their every move (estimated in 2003 at about 4.2 million or 1 for every 14 people) or about their “problem family monitoring“.

I can already hear the simple folk saying, “that’s ok – we should monitor bad people – I’m not a bad parent – that could never happen to our family. WRONG! Who decides? It CAN happen to you and NO ONE should have their privacy invaded like that. The system is worse than the problem!

We must be ever watchful and unless you want to leave the system entirely it is necessary to try to stop these changes. The Intel Forum has a discussion board that includes the status of Real ID Mandatory State Compliance.

Here is just one of many more bills being considered:

Worker Biometric ID Under Consideration in US: Senators Charles Schumer and Lindsey Graham have proposed a new national identity card. The Senators would require that “all U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who want jobs” obtain a “high-tech, fraud-proof Social Security card” with a unique biometric identifier. The card, they say, would not contain private information, medical information, or tracking techniques, and the biometric identifiers would not be stored in a government database.

Notice the clever wording. The CARD won’t contain that information but it WILL link to a database that does, but the database won’t contain the biometric identifiers. So what? Between the two your every move will be tracked and could prevent you from being able to get a job, a loan, insurance, rent an apartment or eventually possibly even make purchases.

There is a good reason people are opposed
to a National ID: privacy makes freedom possible.

How do you get people to agree to what they have fought against for generations? Make them the only “easy” way to do something else so that busy people who aren’t very savvy will automatically go along – like the only easy way to permit your children access to what they want to do online.


  • The FTC is soliciting public comment on the proposed COPPA Rule amendments.  Comments will be accepted through November 28, 2011.
  • If you have other actions my readers can take leave them in the comments. DO please include relevant links to further information.





National Strategy for Trusted Identifies in Cyberspace:




Intelligent con artists are a serious threat to personal safety and finances. They can obtain almost any kind of information and talk anyone you know into revealing your personal information and even your current location. These links can assist those dealing with stalkers:

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Gail Gardner

Small Business Marketing Strategist at GrowMap
Creator and owner of, Gail is primarily known for mentoring small businesses and encouraging bloggers to join collaborations to share skills and support small business.


  1. It’s terrible, every time legislation like this gets defeated, something even more ridiculous pops up to take its place. Seems like the US government is hellbent on taking away our free internet.

  2. It’s true what they say… almost anything government can do to make us feel safer also removes some of our liberties. Parents should be ultimately responsible for their children’s safety, not the state.
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    • I agree with you on that, as parents we must be responsible to our children’s safety we can’t just rely these kind of stuffs to our government for they have more important matters to do.

  3. Hi Kate,

    What is it you don’t understand and I will do my best to answer.
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  4. Sandra Lynne says:

    This is very useful to know sometimes it is better to the rights of our children, basically almost all the people should have ID for any purpose. this will help a lot.
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  5. Johnny Optimo says:

    I’m highly opposed to any legislation requiring a national ID… in my opinion it opens up to door to even more privacy invading legislation that is against the spirit of the internet and the spirit of free speech
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  6. Stellar article and scary at the same time! So many people are clueless when it comes to how much control the government has over our lives, and you were right to point out how sneaky they are when they bury things in legislation. In fact, Americans used to be able to buy as much gold as they wanted without it being tracked by the govt; But now, deep within the Obama Healthcare Bill, they stipulate that the govt. can and will track gold purchases by consumers. Thanks for the rallying cry and I will let all my friends and family know the scoop.
    Monica would love you to read ..Credit Card Information BlogMy Profile

    • Hi Monica,

      We can not expect the government to do anything about this as they are all for it. It is just hard for me to understand how people – especially those with decades of life experience – are so oblivious to the differences between what we have been conditioned to believe and what actually happens.

      Take “the police are there to protect you” for example. The first time you call them because there is someone trying to break down your door to your house that fantasy bubble should burst because they won’t show up. On the other hand, if you call them back and tell them if the intruder manages to get through the door you’re going to have to kill them with your shotgun then MANY police cars from multiple agencies will show up to haul you away. (This is a true story – it happened to my next door neighbor in a good neighborhood on the outskirts of a good-sized city in California.)

      In a way you can’t blame them for not wanting to risk their life confronting a potentially dangerous lunatic trying to break down your door, but I do blame them for wanting to arrest someone who chooses to use lethal force for self-defense in such a circumstance.

      Why haven’t most people figured out by now that the primary goal of law enforcement is income generation and law enforcement is a growth industry.
      growmap would love you to read ..Small Business Internet Marketing: Where to StartMy Profile

  7. Now that the internet is full of frauds, I think it is necessary to have an ID system like this.
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  8. Richard,

    Wow! Some really great issues here. I must live with my head in a cloud (or is it THE Cloud) I really didn’t realize all this was going on. I am going to follow some inks and find out more.


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  9. You cannot even imagine how helpful your article has been to me! Thanks alot!
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  10. Thank you for this valuable information. I will have to go check out all the links.

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