As discussed in our sister blog, CARU’s revised Ad Guidelines go into effect on January 1, 2022. While the core principles of the guidelines have not changed, they now include new content to account for today’s advertising environment. Several modifications are important to keep in mind for those who collect information from children.

Continue Reading The Impact of the CARU Advertising Guidelines Change On Privacy

The FTC recently announced the removal of Aristotle International, Inc. from the list of seven approved safe harbor programs under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. Programs that are approved by the FTC must place requirements on participating organizations that are the same -or greater- than the requirements of COPPA. (As we have reported in the past, COPPA requires, inter alia, getting verified parental consent before collecting personal information from children online.) Companies that participate in those approved COPPA safe harbor programs are deemed in compliance with COPPA. Such protection can be valuable with a law, like COPPA, that has been found to be confusing to operationalize.

Continue Reading A COPPA First: Safe Harbor Program Removed From Approved List

The new acting FTC chair, Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, recently signaled that the FTC may increase enforcement and penalties in the privacy and data security realm. Slaughter pointed to several areas of focus for the FTC this year, which companies will want to keep in mind:
Continue Reading What Is FTC’s Course Under Biden?

As we wrote previously, kids are spending more of their days online and are using online platforms for virtual learning and entertainment. Much of this environment is funded through online advertising. All companies thus need to think about the impact that children’s privacy laws, like COPPA, have on the online environment, as they will see the outcomes of this applicability in their contracts.
Continue Reading Back to School Special: But I’m Just an Ad Network! Am I Subject to Children’s Privacy Laws?

In our online world, one of the challenges (and opportunities) for companies is the increased use of their websites, apps, and connected devices. For platforms directed to both adults and children, or platforms previously directed to adults which would like to now also direct their services to children, the FTC’s recently streamlined FAQs, and ICPEN’s guide (both of which we introduced earlier this week) can help companies in this space. The information is particularly helpful for those that were aimed mostly toward adults, and are now shifting their business plans to direct products or services to children as well.
Continue Reading Back to School Special: Is My Multi-Age Platform Subject to Child Protection Requirements?

In this remote era, companies are increasingly being approached by their business teams with ideas about products and services that involve video or audio recordings of their consumers. It may also involve letting people manipulate photos of themselves. Sometimes, those recordings and pictures are of children. Content that contain images or audio of individuals are considered personal information under many laws, including the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). What does this mean for companies? As we discussed in our previous blog post, COPPA requires obtaining parental consent if the personal information collected is being collected by the company online, and being collected from the child. The FTC’s recently streamlined FAQs help companies find and understand obligations if collecting photos or recordings from children. Namely, a reminder that this content is personal, and does require verifiable parental consent before being collected.
Continue Reading Back to School Special: Recordings, Photos, Kids, and Parental Consent

In the current pandemic era, kids are spending more time online, be it for school or entertainment. Companies are therefore gearing up for increased interaction with children online or through connected devices. As children around the globe return to school, whatever  that return looks like, the FTC and the International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network (ICPEN) remind us that certain rules apply when dealing with kids online.
Continue Reading Back to School Special: COPPA Consent in the COVID Era

HyperBeard, the makers of several children’s mobile apps (including KleptoCats), recently settled with the FTC over failure to obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting children’s personal information online, in violation of COPPA. In its complaint, the FTC argued that the HyperBeard apps were clearly directed to children. The apps contained brightly-colored animated characters, kid-friendly language, games that were easy to play, and were promoted on kids’ websites and publications.
Continue Reading KleptoCats Maker Settles with FTC Over Failure to Get Parental Consent

The Federal Trade Commission is requesting comments and input on the effectiveness of the 2013 amendments it made to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule. Although the FTC typically reviews its rules every ten years, it is doing so early because of rapid changes in and children’s expanded use of technology. Part of the input it is seeking is whether the COPPA Rule should be updated again. Among the specific input the FTC has requested, it wants to know if companies and other interested parties believe that the Rule should be amended to include websites and online services that are not directed at children but have large numbers of child users.
Continue Reading FTC Seeks Comments on COPPA Rule

Two mobile apps directed at children were recently subject to action by the Children’s Advertising Review Unit. The first, “My Talking Tom,” is a virtual pet game for children operated by Outfit7 Limited. One issue was the display of Outfit7’s privacy policy. Under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, privacy policies must be understandable, and contain no unrelated material. The app’s policy, however, contained advertisements for other games, and animated balloons that obstructed the user’s view. Accordingly, CARU found that the distracting content violated COPPA. Outfit7 prudently removed the content, and CARU took no further action on the issue.
Continue Reading CARU Takes Action Against Two Mobile Apps

The ICO first began its examination of Bounty UK Ltd. (a support club for parents) when the ICO was investigating the data brokerage industry generally, of which it viewed Bounty as taking part (given that it shared member information with third parties like Acxiom and Equifax). Here, in reaching its conclusion that the company had violated UK privacy laws, the ICO found the volume of sharing in which Bounty engaged “unprecedented,” and accused the company of both “careless data-sharing” as well as violations of the UK law that pre-dated GDPR (the violation having occurred prior to the law’s May 2018 implementation date). Interestingly, the violation has been described by commentators as a “data breach,” although it did not involve the typical “hacker” scenario that one thinks of when contemplating a breach. Instead, the company collected information and shared it with third parties without appropriate notice and consent.
Continue Reading UK ICO Fines Parenting Club £400,000 Over Breach Involving PII of Mothers and Babies