Interactive Counsel

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Interactive Counsel

FTC Approves New COPPA Safe Harbor Program

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FTC Approves New COPPA Safe Harbor Program

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has recently approved the kidSAFE Seal Program’s kidSAFE+ seal as a safe harbor program through which companies can demonstrate compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule.

A company that is approved under the FTC’s safe harbor program is deemed to be in compliance with the COPPA Rule. This means that the FTC has sanctioned the practices of the website with respect to its collection of data from children under the age of 13. As it was approved, the kidSAFE Seal Program’s kidSAFE+ seal will now serve as a safe harbor option. It is available to websites and applications, including mobile apps, tablet devices, and other interactive technologies.

To qualify for the kidSAFE+ seal, companies must first become paid members of the kidSAFE Seal Program. In addition, companies must demonstrate compliance with certain privacy and safety guidelines. For example, among other requirements, companies must (1) obtain parental consent before collecting a child’s personal information in connection with registration or account creation on the website or online service, (2) allow parents to review and delete their child’s personal information, (3) have both manual and electronic safeguards to protect a child’s personal information while it is stored, and (4) post a child-specific privacy policy if their service collects personal information from children. A complete list of the certification guidelines approved by the FTC for the kidSAFE+ seal can be found here. Further information on the kidSAFE Seal Program and a list of certified products can be found here.

Operators of websites and online services that knowingly collect information from children should be aware of the kidSAFE+ seal, as it could provide a useful way to comply with the COPPA Rule’s requirements. The COPPA Rule applies to websites and online services that target children under the age of 13 and to websites and online services that have actual knowledge that they are collecting personal information from users of other websites or online services directed to children under the age of 13.

For additional information regarding the revised COPPA Rule and a newly approved COPPA consent method, please see our previous alerts here and here.

Arent Fox will continue to monitor developments related to the COPPA Rule and data privacy laws. Please contact Sarah L. Bruno, Anthony V. Lupo, or Eva J. Pulliam with questions.

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