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Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved the Safe Harbor Program of iKeepSafe, also known as the Internet Keep Safe Coalition, as a safe harbor oversight program under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the agency’s COPPA Rule.

The Commission’s COPPA Rule requires operators of online sites and services directed at children under the age of 13 to provide notice and obtain permission from a child’s parents before collecting personal information from that child. The COPPA safe harbor provision promotes flexibility and efficiency by encouraging industry members and others to develop their own COPPA oversight programs, known as “safe harbor” programs.

Website operators that participate in an approved COPPA safe harbor program will, in most circumstances, be subject to the review and disciplinary procedures provided in the safe harbor’s guidelines in lieu of formal FTC investigation and law enforcement.

The COPPA law directs the Commission to review proposals to create new oversight programs.  The Commission determined that the iKeepSafe safe harbor program provides “the same or greater protections for children” as those contained in the COPPA Rule; effective mechanisms to assess operators’ compliance; effective incentives for operators’ compliance with the guidelines; and an adequate means for resolving consumer complaints.

The Commission vote to approve the iKeepSafe safe harbor application was 5-0.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved the Safe Harbor Program of iKeepSafe, also known as the Internet Keep Safe Coalition, as a safe harbor oversight program under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the agency’s COPPA Rule.

The Commission’s COPPA Rule requires operators of online sites and services directed at children under the age of 13 to provide notice and obtain permission from a child’s parents before collecting personal information from that child. The COPPA safe harbor provision promotes flexibility and efficiency by encouraging industry members and others to develop their own COPPA oversight programs, known as “safe harbor” programs.

Website operators that participate in an approved COPPA safe harbor program will, in most circumstances, be subject to the review and disciplinary procedures provided in the safe harbor’s guidelines in lieu of formal FTC investigation and law enforcement.

The COPPA law directs the Commission to review proposals to create new oversight programs.  The Commission determined that the iKeepSafe safe harbor program provides “the same or greater protections for children” as those contained in the COPPA Rule; effective mechanisms to assess operators’ compliance; effective incentives for operators’ compliance with the guidelines; and an adequate means for resolving consumer complaints.

The Commission vote to approve the iKeepSafe safe harbor application was 5-0.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

When we started posting the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule FAQs, we told you we’d update them periodically – and we’re doing our best to make good on that promise.
In a lot of schools, kids are more likely to be looking at screens than at blackboards.  One advantage:  fewer annoying chalk squeaks.  Of course, the benefits of the connected classroom go far beyond that.  But educators, administrators, and parents have been asking an important question:  How do the protections of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the accompanying FTC rule apply in the school setting?
We got an interesting suggestion recently.  “With how fast technology changes, how about building in a process so companies can see if newer methods meet the requirements of existing rules?”  A related recommendation:  Crowdsourcing.  “The FTC could publicize an idea and get feedback from people.”  We’re fans of innovation, too, which is why the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule includes a procedure for companies to ask if methods of getting parental consent not listed in COPPA nonetheless meet the Rule’s standards.&

November 2018
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