Following a public comment period and review of AgeCheq, Inc.’s second proposed Children’s Online Privacy Protection (COPPA) Rule verifiable parental consent method, the Federal Trade Commission has denied the company’s application.
In its application, AgeCheq proposed a device-signed parental consent form as a method to obtain verifiable parental consent, consisting of a multi-step method requiring entry of a code sent by text message to a mobile device. In a letter to AgeCheq, the FTC stated that the company’s proposed mechanism was not compliant with COPPA’s requirements regarding the type of parental information that can be collected as a means to verify a parent’s identity.
The Commission also said in its letter that AgeCheq’s method did not meet the rule’s requirements that it be reasonably calculated to ensure that the person providing consent is the child’s parent or guardian. The letter notes that the person providing consent under the proposed method could easily be the child using the very device on which an app seeking consent was downloaded.
Under the COPPA Rule, online sites and services directed at children under 13, and general audience sites or services that knowingly collect, use, or disclose personal information from children under 13, must obtain permission from a child’s parents before collecting personal information from that child. The rule lays out a number of acceptable methods for gaining parental consent, but also includes a provision allowing interested parties to submit new verifiable parental consent methods to the Commission for approval. Approved methods may be used by any company, not just the particular applicant requesting approval of the method.
The Commission vote to deny AgeCheq’s application and issue the letter was 5-0.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.
Office of Public Affairs
Bureau of Consumer Protection