Ready for Changes to COPPA? Industry Responds With New Compliance Tools

Two industry organizations announced new initiatives designed to help mobile app developers comply with revisions to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) Rule, which take effect today.

Today, the Association of Competitive Technologies (“ACT”) launched Moms With Apps, an initiative aimed at highlighting mobile apps that were designed with children’s privacy in mind. According to ACT, Moms With Apps will establish industry standards and best practices designed to assist with COPPA compliance, encourage transparency with respect to privacy practices and app features, and promote apps tailored to children under the age of 13.

On June 25, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (“ESRB”) announced that its privacy seal certification program, ESRB Privacy Certified, now includes services to help mobile app developers comply with the changes to COPPA. ESRB Privacy Certified includes the following suite of services:

• Individualized privacy risk assessment for all online and mobile properties;
• Solutions for obtaining verifiable parental consent for users under age 13
• Guidance on providing concise short form” privacy disclosures to mobile users;
• Consultation on privacy policy development; and
• Ongoing compliance monitoring and reporting.

Lastly, the FTC announced the availability of new materials to help businesses that operate child-directed websites and mobile apps comply with COPPA. The FTC document, The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule: A Six-Step Compliance Plan for Your Business,” includes a six-step process for companies to determine their obligations under COPPA. In addition, the FTC also released a video for businesses that explains the Rule changes. The new materials are the latest effort by FTC Staff (also see here, here, and here) to educate operators of websites and online services directed to children about their obligations under the amended Rule.