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Commission approval of application for revised safe harbor program: The Commission has approved an application submitted by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) asking that it be allowed to revise its safe harbor program in accordance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Under COPPA and the FTC’s COPPA Rule, the Commission may approve self-regulatory guidelines that are substantially similar to those in the Rule and that ensure adequate monitoring and enforcement. An organization that is in compliance with such an FTC-approved “safe harbor” program is considered to be in compliance with the Rule.

The FTC first approved ESRB’s safe harbor program in 2001, finding that it met the Rule’s three flexible performance standards. In September of this year, ESRB filed an application for Commission approval of nonsubstantive changes to its safe harbor program. The application, which can be found on the FTC’s Web site and as a link to this press release, continues to include stringent guidelines for participation and several assessment and enforcement mechanisms. Accordingly, the Commission has approved the proposed revisions by a vote of 4-0. (FTC file number P064501; the staff contact is Karen Muoio, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2941; see related press release dated June 23, 2000.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s Web site at and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

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