|Received:||2/13/2005 8:04:53 PM|
|Organization:||IT Law Group|
|Agency:||Federal Trade Commission|
|Rule:||Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Request for Comment|
|Attachment:||00070.pdf Download Adobe Reader|
Comments:QUESTION 1 – Secure electronic mechanisms? Although secure electronic mechanisms are available, many parents many not have the adequate capabilities to use these techniques: for example underprivileged families, families with limited education, families without computers, etc. Consider also the financial burden for most websites, which are typically run on a shoestring budget, through grants or donations. QUESTION 2 – Availability of infomediary services? I am not aware of these services. Consider, as an alternative, the school systems as a potential trusted intermediary in many instances. QUESTION 3 – When will secure infomediary services be available? I think that it is not practical to rely on third party commercial services. The technological divide is still very important in this country. If the Internet is to help children, it should help ALL children. Those who need it the most are children whose parents cannot read English, or do not own a computer. Relying on sophisticated services to obtain parents consent will take these underprivileged children out of the loop. QUESTION 4 – Elimination of the Sliding Scale? I would not eliminate the Sliding Scale, and to the contrary, I suggest three levels for the sliding scale: LEVEL ONE – non profit, non commercial activities (see example 1 below) LEVEL TWO – internal use for commercial purpose (see example 2 below) LEVEL THREE – re-disclosure to third parties (see example 3 below) Example 1 – internal use for pro-bono purposes COPPA does not apply to NPOs. However, many commercial companies that want to “do good” are frequently discouraged by the obstacles created by COPPA. These commercial companies just want to increase their goodwill through their “pro bono” activities, but have otherwise no direct or indirect use for the children’s PII other than to operate a program that benefits children. Make it easy for commercial companies with Pro bono programs to rely on the school or the teacher as the “trusted third party” able to collect all parents consent, and involve the children in the program. Example 2 – internal use for commercial purposes Companies that collect children PII for internal “commercial” use, e.g., to sell products, services, etc. to children should face substantial hurdles. The Rule should require one parent’s involvement. The methods listed in 16 CFR 312.5(b)(2) are adequate. In addition, there should be specific limitation to the collection of information, such as: - Limit the information that is collected to that amount which is necessary - Mandatory OPT-IN (un-clicked ones) for the recipient of any commercial message, newsletter, etc. so that the individual whose information is collected is clearly required to agree to the uses of the information. - Require renewal of the parental consent on an annual basis - Require detailed specific notice of the use - Require all communications with the child to contain an “unsubscribe” section similar to what is used for commercial messages under CAN SPAM, without any distinction between commercial, transactional or other type of communications. Example 3 – disclosure to third parties It is difficult imaging any situation where a company should be allowed to disclose children information to third parties other than to its service providers. QUESTION 5 – Mechanism not working? COPPA requirements often create an obstacle to commercial companies with genuine pro bono intent. The sliding scale need to be improved to include concepts such as the one described above: to make it easy for companies to collect some information about these children, so that they can use it to accomplish their non-profit programs for children. QUESTION 6 – Extension of the Sliding Scale Some sliding scale mechanism needs to remain in place, and improved or adapted to help distinguish probono efforts from commercial uses and misuses. QUESTION 7 - Elimination of the Sliding Scale? The Sliding Scale should not be eliminated, but rather refined, and adapted to new technologies. For example, take into account the existence of pop-up ads, which are generated by information collected on cookies, and elsewhere, and that are an additional invasion of children’s privacy. QUESTION 8 – Permanent Sliding Scale The Sliding Scale should not be permanent, but rather reevaluated to adapt to new technologies, new uses, new needs, and continue to be consistent with existing laws.