December 3, 2015
Whoops! COPPA is not one of Santa’s eight tiny reindeer. It’s the acronym for the “Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act,” a law that gives parents more control over who collects information from and about their children. The rules apply to all mobile apps and websites, even those based at the North Pole. The Apple and Google app stores list more than 50 Santa-themed apps this year; children can watch Santa feed live reindeer, track his sleigh on Christmas Eve, or relay their electronic Christmas wish-lists.
COPPA, updated in 2013, was designed to assure that parents have the opportunity to consent to the collection of personal identifiable information (PII) from children under the age of 13. PII can include names and addresses, email addresses, birth dates, photographs, or geolocation information… all of which a crook could use for identity theft.
Better Business Bureau’s Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) is advising parents on how to use “Santa apps” and related holiday entertainment. Before allowing a child to download any app, CARU recommends that parents:
CARU asks parents who come across an app or other online service that they think violates COPPA to file an anonymous consumer complaint on CARU’s website here.
For more information about CARU and keeping children safe online, please visit CARU’s Parents’ Corner.
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