Notice & Comment

FTC Seeks Comment on Proposed Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule, by Elisabeth Ulmer

The Federal Trade Commission seeks comment on the parental consent method that AgeCheq Inc. (“AgeCheq”) has suggested in accordance with the FTC’s Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule.

Congress enacted the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”), which became effective in 2000.  It applies to any person or entity that collects personal information (defined as “individually identifiable information”) from children under the age of 13, online.  COPPA covers “what a Web site operator must include in a privacy policy, when and how to seek verifiable consent from a parent and what responsibilities an operator has to protect children’s privacy and safety online.”

Pursuant to COPPA, the FTC issued the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (“Rule”) in 1999 and amended it in 2012.  Under this Rule, certain website operators must provide privacy policies and obtain verifiable parental consent before they collect, use, or disclose personal information from children under 13.  Interested parties may offer for the FTC’s review any parental consent method not listed in the Rule, and the FTC now seeks comment on the parental consent method that AgeCheq has proposed.

AgeCheq’s single identity verification process calls for parents to register themselves and their children’s device(s) with a third party common consent administrator (“CCA”).  The CCA would then verify the parental identity and link it to the children’s mobile devices.  Codes within applications would automatically check the CCA‘s database for the required parental consent.  If the parent has not yet consented to an application’s access, h/she “must use the CCA service to review the developer’s app-specific privacy disclosures and affirmatively grant consent.”  According to AgeCheq, this method “achieves the Commission’s vision of a reliable, manageable, parent-curated online experience for children who use smartphones, tablets, or PCs to interact with mobile applications or other online services.”

Commenters may address any topic relating to AgeCheq’s parental consent method, but the FTC specifically encourages comments that address any of the following three questions:

  1. Is this method, both with respect to the process for obtaining consent for an initial operator and any subsequent operators, already covered by existing methods enumerated in § 312.5(b)(1) of the Rule? 
  2. If this is a new method, provide comments on whether the proposed parental consent method, both with respect to an initial operator and any subsequent operators, meets the requirements for parental consent laid out in 16 CFR 312.5(b)(1). Specifically, the Commission is looking for comments on whether the proposed parental consent method is reasonably calculated, in light of available technology, to ensure that the person providing consent is the child’s parent. 
  3. Does this proposed method pose a risk to consumers’ personal information? If so, is that risk outweighed by the benefit to consumers and businesses of using this method?

If a comment addresses any of these questions, it should cite the number of the question. 

Comments are due on September 30, 2014.  Interested parties are invited to submit comments by any of the following methods:

  • Online Filing: 
  • Mail: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Suite CC-5610 (Annex K), Washington, DC 20580 
  • Hand Delivery: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Constitution Center, 400 7th Street SW., 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex K), Washington, DC 20024

All comments should include: “AgeCheq Application for Parental Consent Method, Project No. P-145410.”  If choosing the hard copy option, add this identifier to the envelope as well.

This post was originally published on the legacy ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Notice and Comment blog, which merged with the Yale Journal on Regulation Notice and Comment blog in 2015.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email