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Thread: COPPA Compliance: Your Action Needed.

  1. #1
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    COPPA Compliance: Your Action Needed.

    One interesting side-effect of this user account business is that we now have to comply with the federal Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, aka COPPA. To simplify that we've put in place a policy that users must be 13 years of age or older to be able to register. Younger users will have to have an adult register for them.

    So, all users who logged in with existing accounts imported from the old site must enter a date of birth in their User CP settings under 'Edit Options'. Eventually we'll go through and send out warnings to active members who haven't done that. After a couple of warnings, we'll lock the account until we get the info. Newly created accounts on this site are forced to set this when the account is created.

    If you're shy about revealing your age you can elect to hide it (there's a setting under the birth date for that). It's hidden by default on all imported accounts. You can only set it yourself the first time, after than an admin will have to change it, so enter the date carefully!

    Sorry about this, but Big Brother and all that...
    Last edited by Tom Westbrook; 14-May-2006 at 08:43.

  2. #2

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    Re: COPPA Compliance: Your Action Needed.

    Done. 67890

  3. #3
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    Question Re: COPPA Compliance: Your Action Needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Westbrook
    Sorry about this, but Big Brother and all that...
    I'm puzzled about this. I am a member of many photo forums and this has not been a requirement on any others. Is this because the server is based in the US, or because it is managed from the US? I am not aware of any requirement in my country of origin, so is the US government dictating 'internet' law?


    This is meant as a serious question.

    Barry
    UK citizen

  4. #4
    Moderator Ralph Barker's Avatar
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    Re: COPPA Compliance: Your Action Needed.

    I don't think the U.S. government is trying to dictate global Internet law, Barry, just what happens on servers located here in the U.S. As with travel, "foreign" visitors also need to comply with the local laws.

  5. #5
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    Re: COPPA Compliance: Your Action Needed.

    Thanks for clearing that up Ralph, looks like other forums will have to comply at some point.

    Barry

  6. #6
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    Re: COPPA Compliance: Your Action Needed.

    Yes, it's USA only. I actaually never heard of it myself, but it's a point of vulnerability for us, so we decided to take the route of least resistence. From that web site I mentioned:
    If you operate a commercial Web site or an online service directed to children under 13 that collects personal information from children or if you operate a general audience Web site and have actual knowledge that you are collecting personal information from children, you must comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.
    I believe it stems partly from over-zealous marketers gathering data on children without knowledge or permission and panic over child predators online. It's smacks of one of those election year feel-good laws--looks great to the voters but causes more problems than it really solves.

  7. #7
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    Re: COPPA Compliance: Your Action Needed.

    Thanks Guy's, I was not trying to be (too) controversial. I guess this is a sign of the times.

    How will you ever know if that the 42 year old male from NY who has just registered is not a 11 year old from Boston? Probably best if you don't answer that!

    Barry

  8. #8
    Moderator Ralph Barker's Avatar
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    Re: COPPA Compliance: Your Action Needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Wilkinson
    How will you ever know . . .
    I don't think we'd be divulging any secret by saying obviously we would likely never know. But, having the person state their age takes us off the hook - at least until we actually know something different about them.

  9. #9
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    Re: COPPA Compliance: Your Action Needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Wilkinson
    How will you ever know if that the 42 year old male from NY who has just registered is not a 11 year old from Boston? Probably best if you don't answer that!
    Unless he's a most unusual 11 year old, you'll figure it out by about his third post, if not before.

    Fortunately, COPPA doesn't require the web site operator to actually do a background check on everyone who registers to see that their information is correct, only to exercise due diligence in asking for the information and saying why they need it -- and blocking registration by those who admit to being under 13 years old.
    If a contact print at arm's length is too small to see, you need a bigger camera. :D

  10. #10
    Beverly Hills, California
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    Re: COPPA Compliance: Your Action Needed.

    I am concerned about identity theft. So when you click on my name, you'll learn that I am in fact over a century old.

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