CUNA Regulatory Comment Call


March 23, 2005

FTC Reviews Rules Under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Please feel free to fax your responses to CUNA at 202-638-7052; e-mail them to Senior Vice President and Associate General Counsel Mary Dunn at mdunn@cuna.coop and to Senior Assistant General Counsel Jeff Bloch at jbloch@cuna.coop; or mail them to Mary and Jeff in c/o CUNA’s Regulatory Advocacy Department, 601 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, South Building, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004-2601. You may also contact us at 800-356-9655, ext. 6732, if you would like a copy of the request for comment or you may access it on the Internet at the following address:

http://www.ftc.gov/os/2005/04/050420coppacomments.pdf

DESCRIPTION OF THE REQUEST FOR COMMENT

In 1999, the FTC issued rules implementing COPPA, which prohibits certain unfair or deceptive acts or practices in connection with the collection, use, or disclosure of personal information from children on the Internet. The rules impose certain requirements on operators of websites or online services directed to children under the age of 13 and on operators of other websites or online services that have actual knowledge that they are collecting personal information from children under the age of 13.

The rules require the following:

At the time the rules were issued, the FTC adopted a "sliding scale" approach to the parental consent requirements, in that the measures required for obtaining parental consent vary depending on how a website operator uses the child’s information. To reflect possible changes in technology, this approach was due to expire in 2002 but has been extended since then, and the FTC has now extended the "sliding scale" approach until the FTC reviews the COPPA rules pursuant to this notice.

The FTC has recently requested comments as to whether the "sliding scale" approach should be made permanent. The FTC will consider those comments as part of this review of the COPPA rules in their entirety. Click below for CUNA’s comments that were submitted in response to the earlier request:

http://www.cuna.org/reg_advocacy/comment_letters/cl_021505.html

Also, at the time the rules were issued, questions were raised as to whether COPPA applied to credit unions based on language that could be interpreted to exempt nonprofit entities. NCUA has reviewed this issue and concluded that COPPA applies to credit unions. NCUA has the enforcement authority for federal credit unions. FTC would have enforcement authority for state-chartered credit unions, but FTC staff has indicated to CUNA in the past that they believe COPPA does not apply to credit unions, although this position could change in the future.

COPPA requires the FTC to now initiate a review of the COPPA rules to evaluate the rules’ implementation and to issue the results in a report to Congress. This request for public comment is intended to help the FTC in this review. Although all comments with regard to the rules are welcome, the FTC has specifically requested responses on a number of issues, grouped in the following categories:

A. General Questions for Comment

B. Definitions

C. Notice

D. Verifiable Parental Consent

E. Right of Parent To Review Personal Information Provided by a Child

F. Prohibition Against Conditioning a Child's Participation on Collection of Personal Information

G. Confidentiality, Security, and Integrity of Personal Information Collected From a Child

Eric Richard • General Counsel • (202) 508-6742 • erichard@cuna.com
Mary Mitchell Dunn • SVP & Associate General Counsel • (202) 508-6736 • mdunn@cuna.com
Jeffrey Bloch • Assistant General Counsel • (202) 508-6732 • jbloch@cuna.com
Lilly Thomas • Assistant General Counsel • (202) 508-6733 • lthomas@cuna.com
Catherine Orr • Senior Regulatory Counsel • (202) 508-6743 • corr@cuna.com