2010 Children's Online Privacy Protection Act Rule Review #547597-00033 

Submission Number:
Janine Hiller
Virginia Tech
Initiative Name:
2010 Children's Online Privacy Protection Act Rule Review
These comments are submitted for myself only, not in any representative capacity. With three co-researchers under an NSF Cybertrust grant I investigated a technical solution to protecting the privacy of children online. In particular, the aim was to design a technology that would put the power to protect children in the parent's hands, as COPPA intended. The research team designed a proof of concept that operates with a browser. Means of obtaining robust parental consent is an important area that has been generally overlooked, and technologies have not been developed that truly put control in a parent's hands in an easy to use manner. Most parents in our focus groups used non-technical means, such as putting the computer in a common room, rather than technical aids to helping protect their children. The great majority of parents surveyed had never heard of trust seals or compliance programs. This project, called POCKET (Parental Online Consent for Kids' Electronic Transactions), illustrates to me the importance of increasing efforts to facilitate parental involvement and control, parental consent, in the framework of COPPA. Improvements can be made, tools can be developed that will help parents protect their children. A publication is attached for further information.