2 golden nuggets from Liisa’s firm

Maine Kid’s Privacy Law Takes Effect September 12

As we have previously reported, the Maine governor signed a new law that: (1) puts an absolute prohibition on using personal information of a minor to market to the minor or to promote any course of action regarding a product to a minor – whether parental permission has been obtained or not and whether you know the person’s age or not; and (2) prohibits knowingly collecting personal information from children in Maine under 18 for “marketing purposes,” without first obtaining parental consent. The prohibited activity of using a minor’s personal information seems to be broadly drafted, and may include not just email and text messages sent to children in Maine – including those between 13 and 17, but also marketing messages sent directly to a child through social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter. It’s possible that it could also prohibit analyzing and internally using a minor’s personal information to determine how to market to individuals generally. The prohibition on collecting information for “marketing purpose” is similarly broad. Unfortunately, the exact meaning of the law is subject to multiple interpretations. The law allows not only for the Maine Attorney General to bring actions for violations, but also allows for a private right of action. Although many have objected to the law, an immediate delay or modification does not appear on the horizon. TIP: If you have an ongoing promotion, consider how you will address the eligibility requirements (for example, prohibiting all persons under 18, persons from the state of Maine who are under 18, voiding to Maine residents, or having a verifiable parental consent mechanism). If you do not currently collect date of birth for your marketing activities, consider doing so, or voiding Maine residents. For your existing database, consider separating out those who are under 18 and reside in Maine, and be sure not to send marketing materials to them.

For more tips, see our bulletin at: http://www.winston.com/siteFiles/Publications/4_ME_Tips.html.

Linking to a Non-Compliant Website Is a Violation of CARU Guidelines

The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (“CARU”) recently found that Kidz Bop LLC violated the CARU Guidelines when it contained a link on the Kidz Bop website to a website which allowed the collection of personally identifiable information from children without fully complying with CARU guidelines. The non-compliant website did not implement a neutral age-screening mechanism to filter children under 13, and various areas of the site collected personally identifiable information. CARU found that Kidz Bop could reasonably expect children under 13 to visit their website and CARU guidelines specifically provide that operators of websites which are for children or contain areas for children should not knowingly link to other websites that do not comply with CARU guidelines. In addition, the Kidz Bop website privacy policy did not include Kidz Bop’s contact information, as required by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

TIP: If you operate a website which is likely to appeal to children under the age of 13, ensure that your website is compliant with CARU Guidelines, including removing any links to websites which you know are not in compliance with the Guidelines.

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1 Comment

  1. Please notify your readers that this incident, in which an advertiser on KIDZBOP.com embedded a link to a non-compliant site without our knowledge, was rectified as soon as we were made aware of the situation. At the conclusion of CARU’s investigation of our practices on KidzBop.com, their decision stated that we took the proper steps and changes were made which were satisfactory to CARU to bring the website into compliance. We are constantly evaluating and updating our screening processes to be sure that we are employing best practices to ensure that KIDZBOP.com is in compliance with COPPA privacy rules, and is a safe, nurturing environment where children can create and share their own original video content.

    Thank you for clarifying this point.

    Liz Nealon
    General Manager
    KIDZ BOP LLC

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