Companies are responding to the changes that took effect July 1 to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule with a proposal for compliance and revised guidelines.
Pursuant to the Rule, verifiable parental consent is required from a child’s parents before an online site or service may collect, use, or disclose personal information about a child under the age of 13. The Rule sets forth methods for obtaining such consent. Interested parties may also file a written request for Federal Trade Commission approval of a new method, pursuant to Section 312.2(a) of the Rule.
In an 85-page proposal, AssertID described a method to obtain the necessary consent and requested that the agency grant approval. In turn, the agency requested public comment on the proposed method and specifically asked whether it is already covered by the existing methods in the Rule, whether it meets the requirement that consent be “reasonably calculated” to ensure that the person providing consent is actually the child’s parent, and whether the program poses a risk to consumer information that outweighs its benefits.
According to the proposal, the method actually encompasses six processes to collectively ensure compliance with the Rule: a process for parental notification of a consent request; a process for presentment of consent-request direct notices to parents; a process for recording and reporting a parent’s response to a consent request to the operator; a process for recording and reporting a parent’s request to revoke consent previously granted and have their child’s personal information deleted; a process for verification of the parent-child relationship; and a process to ensure that only a parent of the child for whom consent is being requested can access and respond to such requests.
Comments will be accepted until Sept. 20.
In other COPPA news, Apple revised its App Store guidelines with a new section called Kids Apps. The company informed developers that behavioral targeting techniques can no longer be used for such apps, which must also now include privacy policies.
Additionally, contextual ads that appear in child-directed apps must be “appropriate for kids,” Apple told developers, and parental permission is required prior to allowing users under the age of 13 to “engage in commerce” such as making an in-app purchase.
To read AssertID’s proposal, click here.
Why it matters: Despite the efforts by AssertID and Apple at compliance, other companies are struggling to meet the mandates of the new COPPA Rule. According to AdAge, the changes to the Rule have resulted in “plummeting” ad revenue for child-directed apps. The operator of Apples4TheTeacher, a site with educational resources for both kids and teachers, told the publication that the cost of ads on her site dropped from $3 to $0.32. A similar drop in ad revenue has been felt since July 1 by the operator of “Papa’s Cupcakeria,” an app featuring games for kids, which the founder estimated at 50 percent. “Unfortunately, this was all too predictable, as the IAB warned for two years that the impact of the new COPPA rules would mean less revenue for child directed sites and fewer free offerings for families,” Mike Zaneis, senior VP and general counsel of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, told AdAge.