FTC Concludes Review of AgeCheq’s Initial Proposed COPPA Verifiable Parental Consent Method

Following a public comment period and review of AgeCheq, Inc.’s initial proposed Children’s Online Privacy Protection (COPPA) Rule verifiable parental consent method, the Federal Trade Commission has denied the company’s application. 

In its application, AgeCheq proposed a real-time common consent mechanism, which conducts identity verification in two ways. The first method of verifying parental identity involves a financial transaction. The second method involves the parent printing, signing, and returning a declaration form to AgeCheq. In a letter to AgeCheq, the FTC stated that the company’s proposed mechanism  uses methods that  have already been recognized as a valid means of obtaining verifiable parental consent in the Rule. The FTC’s letter also states that companies are free to develop common consent mechanisms without Commission approval.

AgeCheq recently proposed a different verifiable parental consent method, which is currently open for public comment.

Under the COPPA Rule, online sites and services directed at children under 13, and general audience sites or services that knowingly collect, use, or disclose personal information from children under 13, must obtain permission from a child’s parents before collecting personal information from that child. The rule lays out a number of acceptable methods for gaining parental consent, but also includes a provision allowing interested parties to submit new verifiable parental consent methods to the Commission for approval. Approved methods may be used by any company, not just the particular applicant requesting approval of the method.

The Commission vote to deny AgeCheq’s application and issue the letter was 5-0.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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