The Federal Trade Commission today announced its approval of the Internet Keep Safe Coalition (“iKeepSafe”) Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) safe harbor oversight program. iKeepSafe’s program is the seventh COPPA safe harbor program approved by the FTC.

In its letter to iKeepSafe approving the program, the FTC stated that iKeepSafe’s program met the FTC guidelines by including “(1) a requirement that participants in the safe harbor program implement substantially similar requirements that provide the same or greater protections for children as those contained in the Rule; (2) an effective, mandatory mechanism for the independent assessment of the safe harbor program participants’ compliance with the guidelines; and (3) disciplinary actions for noncompliance by safe harbor participants.”

COPPA’s safe harbor provision allows industry members and others to develop self-regulatory programs. The benefit to website operators of participating in a COPPA safe harbor program is that they will generally be subject to the review and disciplinary procedures provided in the safe harbor’s guidelines rather than formal FTC investigation and law enforcement.

The FTC’s guidelines for obtaining parental consent applicable to website operators and developers of children’s apps have been previously discussed on this blog.