The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) regulates the personal data Web sites can collect if the site is accessed by children under the age of 13.
The Federal Trade Commission uses the following factors to determine whether a Web site is directed at children:
- Subject matter;
- Visual content;
- Audio content.
- Age of the models and pictures on the site.
- Language level
- Type of Advertising directed toward children
- The actual age of the intended audience
- Child orient features (such as animated characters.)
Web sites that have the above child orientating factors are forced to obey the FTC regulations.
The written policy must include:
- Operator Information (Name, Address, Telephone Number, Email Address.)
- The type of information collected
- How the information is collected
- How the information is used
- Whether the information is disclosed to third parties, their types of businesses and how they will use the information
- Whether the information will remain confidential.
The Web Site must obtain Parental Consent to gather the information from and about the children. Even if permission is given, parents must be able to rescind the permission. Further, parents must be able to review the data collected and have it deleted at any time.
If the web site owner is using the information solely for internal use, parental consent may be acquired by e-mail with a digital signature and a personal identification number or password.
If web site owner discloses the data to others, the FTC mandates further information such as a signed form by regular mail or fax, or verification of a credit card number.