Online Businesses and Coppa

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If you trade online, you need to pay close attention to the requirements of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA, or the Act). Set in 1998, COPPA requires the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce rules that govern how website operators collect, use, and distribute personal information from children online. The FTC COPPA Rule spells out the specifics of the Act.

It is worth to familiarize yourself with the requirements of COPPA – if you have not already done so. Here’s a quick rundown of the main items to get you started.

Is Coppa your business ?

The answer is yes, if your business involves any of the following:

  • Commercial websites or online services that target children under the age of 13, and collect personal information from children;
  • websites intended for a general audience, but knowingly collect personal information from children under the age of 13;
  • websites intended for a general audience, but have a separate area for children and collect personal information from children.

What brought Coppa entail?

If COPPA applies to your business, you are required to write and implement COPPA-compliant privacy policy. It is worth taking the time to review the guidelines developed by the FTC to help online businesses going. The book covers issues related to the location, content and style compatible policies. Check it out on the FTC website.

Being COPPA-compliant means online business must meet several criteria, including:

1. Write privacy policy on your home page and link to it everywhere personal information about children is collected.

2. Provide notice to parents about the online habits of collection.

3. Get verifiable parental consent before personal information from children.

4. Give parents the option to consent to the collection and use of their children’s personal information.

5. Provide parents access to information of their children, and the opportunity to spend the information and opt-out of future information gathering and use.

6. Maintain the confidentiality and security of personal information collected from children.

Why is the Coppa been important?

The simple answer is that it is the law. However, it is important to how non-compliance could affect your business. The penalties for non-compliance often stiff. Having spent time and money to develop a viable business, it makes sense to go the extra mile to ensure that you are operating on the right side of the existing rules.

Learning from the mistakes of others Animals

In many respects the requirements of COPPA clear enough. It is ironic that even some prominent companies miss the mark.

In 2008, the FTC charged the operators of social networking sites targeted children with violation of COPPA. According to the FTC complaints, online business allowed the children to create accounts by sending personal information for informing parents or obtaining parental consent. The company agreed settlement, which included a civil penalty of $ 130,000, in order that prohibits the company does Coppa rules and conditions for the destruction of all personal information collected in violation of the rule.

Also in 2008, a major online music company found out the high cost of the FTC called “ canceled the Coppa obligations” . The FTC charged that the company violated COPPA by not providing sufficient notice on their websites about the information it collects, how it uses the information and its disclosure practices. In the settlement, the company agreed to pay a pay a fine of $ 1 million and commit to orders to ensure future compliance.

The Web is a great medium for business. However, it is not without its regulatory controls. The Coppa is there for a purpose and the FTC is actively enforcing it. It is good business to ensure online privacy policy is COPPA-compliant both intent and practice.

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