|August 5, 1999
To the Secretary:
On behalf of Mars Incorporated, we appreciated having the opportunity to participate in the July 20, 1999 public workshop in the above-referenced proceeding to address the question of "verifiable parental consent." It was very useful for all the panel members to be reminded that the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) includes several important exemptions to this requirement. The workshop participants described a variety of technologies which might be used to obtain "verifiable parental consent" in circumstances where it is required. As we said at the workshop, and as the Commission itself has recognized in its initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (RFA), COPPA establishes a performance standard in this regard. The Act defines the term "verifiable parental consent" to mean:
Panel members outlined a variety of technical means, such as, but not limited to, the use of credit cards in connection with a transaction, various forms of "e-mail plus," and many others which appear to satisfy the language of the statute. We believe the task of the Commission under COPPA is to approve all "reasonable means" as defined in the statute; only means which are manifestly unreasonable should not be recognized.
We again appreciated the opportunity to participate in this important proceeding.
Sheila A. Millar
cc: Toby Levin