do I need COPPA?

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bashbang
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Re: do I need COPPA?

Post by bashbang » Mon Sep 29, 2008 5:42 pm

COPPA is a US law not a Canadian law but with having the server hosted in the US you'd likely have your site classified as a US based website.

You're site won't be shut down if you don't follow the rules. You'll get a threatening letter from the BBB. At least that's who it used to be, it's possible the oversite is being managed by someone else these days. They'll tell you you're not following the rules and will give you some details as to what you need to change...of course not telling you how to change them or anything.

You're right that the act is from 2000 and would seem ancient in computer terms, but it still holds true.

As for 100% Canadian based websites it's good practice to follow the COPPA rules. In Canada we have guidelines (http://www.the-cma.org/?WCE=C=47%7CK=225849#11 ) that we're supposed to follow voluntarily. If you follow the COPPA rules you'll be covered and won't have to worry about any ramifications form either side of the border.

On a separate but related point, there's also an ethical issue here. The spirit of the law is to protect the personal information of kids who may not know it's not safe to give away their real name and phone numbers. The law tries to ensure a kids parent is informed of their child's activities online (to a degree)...setting aside the fact that kids will lie about their age to get registered.

Pezzoni
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Re: do I need COPPA?

Post by Pezzoni » Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:13 pm

You need it enabled only if your website is hosted in the US, and contains content that could be considered to be targeted at under-13s. I don't have it enabled on my forum which is hosted in the US, since the target audience is clearly adult.

Kim_Possible
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Re: do I need COPPA?

Post by Kim_Possible » Mon Sep 29, 2008 10:16 pm

Pezzoni wrote:You need it enabled only if your website is hosted in the US, and contains content that could be considered to be targeted at under-13s. I don't have it enabled on my forum which is hosted in the US, since the target audience is clearly adult.
More specifically:
Who Must Comply

If you operate a commercial Web site or an online service directed to children under 13 that collects personal information from children or if you operate a general audience Web site and have actual knowledge that you are collecting personal information from children, you must comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.

* To determine whether a Web site is directed to children, the FTC considers several factors, including the subject matter; visual or audio content; the age of models on the site; language; whether advertising on the Web site is directed to children; information regarding the age of the actual or intended audience; and whether a site uses animated characters or other child-oriented features.

* To determine whether an entity is an "operator" with respect to information collected at a site, the FTC will consider who owns and controls the information; who pays for the collection and maintenance of the information; what the pre-existing contractual relationships are in connection with the information; and what role the Web site plays in collecting or maintaining the information.
http://www.coppa.org/comply.htm

I wouldn't operate a site in the US without it, but maybe I'm just overly cautious. :)

Pezzoni
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Re: do I need COPPA?

Post by Pezzoni » Tue Sep 30, 2008 8:58 am

I've never heard of it actually being enforced, so I wouldn't be too worried unless I was running a massive forum directly targeted at American children.

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