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.
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