Golden Gate University Law Review


Kodie McGinley


As the digital sphere becomes more prevalent in people’s lives, Congress has tried to keep up. First created in 1998, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) requires operators of websites directed at children to obtain consent from parents before collecting any personal information from children. COPPA also requires that operators take reasonable measures to protect the confidentiality of any personal information collected about children. Although COPPA has helped regulate online spaces, its focus is on regulating websites that collect personal information directly from children. This focus leaves a gap in the law that ignores personal data shared on social media by third parties, such as parents and family members. This Comment argues that Congress should amend COPPA to provide protection for children whose information is shared online before they are able to consent. Part I begins with background information on the history of COPPA and its primary purposes. Part II addresses the unique concerns that third-party sharing poses, including a discussion of so-called “sharenting” and the various ethical concerns of third-party sharing. Part III considers proposed legal remedies for children who wish to have greater control over information shared about them online. Finally, Part IV argues that Congress should amend COPPA to allow minors to request the deletion of personal data shared about them by third parties, including the scope of such an amendment.