“By clarifying what types of data constitute personal data under COPPA, the FTC ensures that COPPA keeps pace with the 21st century and the increasingly sophisticated practices of marketers,” said Katharina Kopp, Director of Policy at Center for Digital Democracy.
“As interactive technologies evolve rapidly, COPPA must be kept up to date and reflect changes in the way children use and access these new media, including virtual and augmented realities. The metaverse typically involves a convergence of physical and digital lives, where avatars are digital extension of our physical selves. We agree with the FTC that an avatar’s characteristics and its behavior constitute personal information. And as virtual and augmented reality interfaces allow for the collection of extensive sets of personal data, including sensitive and biometric data, this data must be considered personal information under COPPA. Without proper protections this highly coveted data would be exploited by marketers and used to further manipulate and harm children online.”