Denise Tayloe on Protecting Children’s Online Privacy with PRIVO

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As more and more kids are getting online at ages earlier than ever before, concerns about allowing businesses access to children’s data are stronger than ever. Congress tried to address this important issue when the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) became law in April 2000, and then again when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) revised and strengthened it in 2014. Despite the law and its subsequent tweaks, concerns still exist because of COPPA’s burdensome way of handling parental consent. As a result, many clicks-and-mortar businesses avoid dealing with kids online altogether, completely foreclosing themselves from an important market segment: children and their parents.  

COPPA was designed by lawmakers to introduce parents into the decision-making equation and place them in control over what information is collected online from their children.  The intent of the law was to give parents the final say on which services their children would be allowed to personally interact with and what information they could disclose.  

Since its inception, COPPA has created headaches for online content providers seeking to collect children’s personal information for marketing and other purposes as well as for parents who feel imposed upon to create a profile each time in order to verify themselves and allow their child to create an account with the online property.  

To avoid the law, children have learned to lie about their age.  Parents encourage their child to ’age up’ in order to avoid the online parental verification process.  Online properties turn away kids under the age of thirteen even though they are aware that those children exist in their databases but with a false age.     

When children magically ’age up’, websites and online apps have no idea who the real user is and thus, the child leaves themselves in a vulnerable position for inappropriate age ad serving, access to adult content and perhaps, finding themselves in online communities that have no monitoring practices or protections.  

To help address these issues, PRIVO has developed an online identity credential (PRIVO iD) for families based on a trust model called the Minors Trust Framework (MTF). The MTF is being developed in conjunction with the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, a White House initiative aimed at finding a better way to protect consumers’ online identity by utilizing secure, efficient, easy-to-use and interoperable identity credentials.  

For the first time ever, parents will be able to have a verified online identity, a PRIVO iD, which they can associate with their kid’s online identity to use for purposes of granting consent to MTF-approved sites and services.  Parent will be able to use their Parent Portal Dashboard to review and pre-approve all MTF-approved COPPA-compliant sites and services their kids may want to access –Online businesses in the MTF Network benefit because they no longer have to deal with getting COPPA consent one-kid-at-a-time, tripling their conversion rates. 

Because the PRIVO iD is focused on child privacy, parents and kids with a PRIVO iD account will only have to enter their personal information once and will have a clear understanding of what information is collected, how it is used, and if it is shared.  

Protecting children’s online privacy is a significant issue that needs to be understood by industry members, parents and children.  The PRIVO iD will make a measurable impact not only on how childrens’ privacy is handled by online and mobile service providers, but how identity is addressed for a new generation of digital natives. What’s most important, however, is that online content and service providers no longer have to fear COPPA – whether it’s with compliance, increasing conversions, or knowing exactly whom they’re dealing with.

Be sure to stop by PRIVO’S booth at ChITAG to find out more about how your company can benefit from being in the MTF Network, as well as to sign up for your free PRIVO iD. You’re on your  way to creating your safe and secure identity credential…a passport for life!