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Is your website or mobile app compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)?

Posted by Clyde Hutchins | Sep 06, 2016 | 0 Comments

Is your website or mobile app compliant with COPPA?

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) was enacted in 1998. The Federal Trade Commission enforces COPPA.  COPPA aims to give parents control over the information that is collected online from young children. It requires that certain website and mobile app operators take certain steps to ensure that parents can exert some control over the personal information collected from their young children.

Who does it apply to?

COPPA applies to operators of websites, online services and mobile apps that are directed to children under 13 years old that collect, use or disclose personal information about children. It also applies to operators of general websites, online services and mobile apps that have actual knowledge that they are collecting personal information from young children.

What types of "Personal Information" is covered by COPPA?

Under COPPA, the concept of "personal information" of children under 13 includes the children's name, address, phone number, email address, location, IP address, photos, audios and videos.

What must be done to comply with COPPA?

Operators of websites and mobile apps that are covered by COPPA must implement and follow certain procedures. This includes (a) posting the company privacy policy regarding the collection of personal information from children, (b) providing direct notice to parents and obtaining consent before collecting personal information from children, (c) giving parents the choice of consenting to the collection and use of personal information, (d) giving parents access to the personal information collected to review or delete, (e) providing options to prevent collection and use of personal information, (f) maintaining the security and confidentiality of personal information and (g) implementing appropriate retention efforts that only preserve the personal information as long as necessary.

What happens if I am not compliant with COPPA?

The Federal Trade Commission can initiate an enforcement action against you. COPPA provides for civil penalties of up to $16,000 per violation.

What should I do if I think that I am not compliant with COPPA?

You should immediately cease collecting personal information from young children. Then review your privacy policies and information gathering procedures. Correct all the deficiencies before collecting information again.

What should I do if I think that I am probably compliant with COPPA, but not sure?

If that is the case, then go ahead with reviewing the privacy policies and information gathering procedures. Correct as needed.

If you have any questions about compliance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) or need assistance in ensuring compliance with COPPA, please feel free to contact Harmony Law.

About the Author

Clyde Hutchins

Clyde Hutchins is the founder of Harmony Law. Mr. Hutchins started his career as a lawyer in Cheyenne, Wyoming. First gaining experience as a law clerk for the district court judges, Mr. Hutchins entered private practice with a Cheyenne firm focused on civil litigation, business law and some general practice law. Later, Mr. Hutchins went to Alaska, where he was the chief litigator for a firm that engaged in bond law, corporate law, securities law, and the broad reach of municipal law. Mr. Hutchins returned to Cheyenne to represent the State of Wyoming in the national tobacco arbitration. While in that position, he developed the consumer protection unit for the Wyoming Attorney General's Office. He led over 120 investigations and enforcement actions in Wyoming and worked on numerous joint cases with the Federal Trade Commission and other states, including Colorado. Mr. Hutchins relocated to Colorado in 2016 and founded Harmony Law. Mr. Hutchins has established Harmony Law in three principal areas of law. First, it is a general practice firm in the areas of business law, estate planning and family law. Secondly, it is a civil litigation firm, practicing law in state and federal courts throughout Wyoming and Colorado. Finally, it is one of the few firms in Wyoming or Colorado that focuses on consumer protection law.

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