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FTC Seeks Public Comment on Proposed kidSAFE COPPA Safe Harbor Program

Written by Julia Siripurapu, CIPP

In a Federal Register notice to be published shortly, the FTC is seeking public comment on the kidSAFE Seal Program proposed by Samet Privacy, LLC under the “safe harbor” provision of the COPPA Rule. This provision enables industry groups or other interested entities to submit to the FTC for approval self-regulatory guidelines that implement the protections of the COPPA Rule.  The FTC is required to publish safe harbor program applications in the Federal Register for public comments and must then make a written determination of whether it approves or rejects the application within six (6) months from the filing date.

The Commission considers the following four (4) key criteria when reviewing a safe harbor program application under the COPPA Rule:

  1. Whether the  program includes information practices guidelines that provide “the same or greater protections for children” as the standards set forth in Sections 312.2 - 312.10 of the COPPA Rule;
  2. Whether the program includes  mechanisms to assess members’ compliance with the program guidelines, including, at a minimum, a comprehensive annual review of each member’s information practices, and whether such mechanisms are effective;
  3. Whether the program includes disciplinary actions for member non-compliance with the program guidelines and whether those disciplinary actions are effective; and
  4. Whether the program provides adequate means for resolving consumer complaints.

Members of an FTC-approved safe harbor program that comply with the program guidelines receive safe harbor from FTC enforcement actions. To date, the following five groups have received Commission approval for their COPPA safe harbor programs: Aristotle, Inc., the Children’s Advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the Entertainment Software Rating Board, TrustE, and PRIVO.

To read the KidSafe Seal Program application and learn more about this safe harbor program, please click here.  Comments on the KidSafe Seal Program may be filed with the FTC online or on paper and mailed to the address set forth in the Federal Register Notice, until Oct. 18, 2013.

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Cynthia J. Larose

Member / Co-Chair, Privacy & Cybersecurity Practice

Cynthia J. Larose is Chair of the firm's Privacy & Cybersecurity Practice, a Certified Information Privacy Professional-US (CIPP-US), and a Certified Information Privacy Professional-Europe (CIPP-E). She works with clients in various industries to develop comprehensive information security programs on the front end, and provides timely counsel when it becomes necessary to respond to a data breach.