At the Federal level, the only legislation requiring age assurance which applies across the United States, is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, known widely as “COPPA”.
The US Senate Commerce Committee recently approved an updated version of COPPA which awaits a vote in the full Senate before being considered by the House of Representatives, and then the President. This would:
- Increase the age below which COPPA applies from 13 to 16
- Invest in research
Recently, the Food and Drug Administration has intensified its focus on the way new vaping products are distributed to require highly effective age-restrictions.
There is less attention paid to age-restricted sales such as alcohol, with any protections usally relying on a limited number of delivery services which offer age checks at the point of delivery as part of their service e.g. US Postal Service. Given the legal risks associated with providing alcohol to minors, this may not remain the situaiton for long. Ultra-fast delivery services may drive this issue forward at pace, if they are found to be a weak spot in the supply chain.
At the State level, there has been a lot of recent activity, with 144 Bills which would require age assurance being considered by state legislatures in 2022 alone. These address the use of children’s data, access to social media, and pornography.
Click on the map below for a guide to the latest laws in each state.