In February, the FTC green-lit the kidSAFE Seal Program as a viable safe harbor alternative under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection ACT (COPPA). The FTC ruled that kidSAFE’s platform allows for the “same or greater protections” to children as those obtained under the COPPA Rule.
COPPA Parental Consent Rules
Under COPPA, websites or applications aimed at children 13 or younger must obtain parental consent before collecting and storing data. Websites must also obtain parental permission before any personal information is released.
What Is The Federal Trade Commission
The FTC was established to keep an eye on unfair or deceptive business practices. Created in 1914, the FTC is the only federal agency that deals with both consumer protection and competition. Over the years, Congress has widened the scope of the FTC’s purview – especially when it comes to Internet law matters.
Federal legislators passed COPPA in 2000. Since then, it’s been updated several times – most recently last year. In brief, the act specifies:
- that parental consent must be obtained for any personal data from children aged 13 and under;
- the ways in which consent may be obtained; and
- the responsibilities of the website operator regarding the safety and privacy
of children online.
New COPPA Provisions
With the new provision, website operators must allow parents to view any data collected from their children. Parents can delete data but can’t otherwise change it. The FTC has also established guidelines to make it easier for website directors to comply with the new program, like requiring parents to use a credit card when establishing identity or providing a toll-free phone number that parents can use to confirm consent.
Do you have a website that is popular with kids? Whether or not you intended for your site to be a children’s site matters not in the eyes of the FTC. If a minor visits your page, and you collect data or track said minor with cookies — inadvertently or on purpose — and you don’t have the proper COPPA provisions in place, technically, you’re in violation of the law.
To make sure you’re compliant, contact Kelly Warner Law today for a website audit. The couple hundred dollars it will cost for a COPPA lawyer to review your site is a drop in the bucket to the millions you could be fined for violating COPPA regulations. Get in touch today.