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FTC Approves Modifications to TRUSTe’s COPPA Safe Harbor Program

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The Federal Trade Commission has approved TRUSTe’s proposed modifications to its safe harbor program under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule.

The FTC’s COPPA Rule requires, among other things, that operators of commercial websites and online services directed to children under the age of 13, or general audience websites and online services that knowingly collect personal information from children under 13, must post comprehensive privacy policies on their sites, notify parents about their information practices, and obtain parental consent before collecting, using, or disclosing any personal information from children under the age of 13.

The FTC’s COPPA Rule includes a “safe harbor” provision that allows industry groups and others to seek Commission approval of self-regulatory guidelines that implement “the same or greater protections for children” as those contained in the COPPA Rule. Companies and organizations that participate in an FTC-approved 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.

In a Federal Register notice, the FTC sought comment on proposed changes to TRUSTe’s existing safe harbor program, including the addition of a new requirement that participants conduct an annual internal assessment of third-parties’ collection of personal information from children on their websites or online services. The Commission received six comments on the notice.

The Commission voted 2-0 to approve the modifications to TRUSTe’s safe harbor program.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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