Belmont, California (PRWEB) July 30, 2012
The continued growth of social networks and the increasing numbers of mobile applications targeting children have brought renewed urgency and focus to privacy issues for children under the age of 13. In 2000, the U.S. government enacted the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) which mandates that website operators obtain “verifiable parental consent” before collecting a child’s personally identifiable information. To date, the most widely used method for obtaining this verifiable parental consent has been the “email-plus” method. However, in September 2011, the FTC recommended the elimination of email-plus because it is viewed as unreliable and easily circumvented by tech-savvy children wishing to gain unauthorized access to websites or mobile applications. Should email-plus be eliminated, the options remaining for obtaining verifiable parental consent are complex and costly for operators to implement, and difficult and intrusive for parents to use.
To obtain verifiable parental consent, an operator must verify both the identity of the parent as well as the parent-child relationship. The first of these verifications is challenging enough – often requiring a parent to complete a credit-card transaction or print, sign and mail a consent form. The second task, verifying the parent-child relationship, is even more challenging; so challenging in fact, that this second verification is generally not performed – it is presumed.
Attempts to address these challenges have resulted in methods that introduce unacceptable complexity and cost into the process. The end result is that operators either avoid the under age 13 market altogether or, kids (often with the aid of a parent) simply lie about their age to bypass the system. Recognizing this, the FTC has challenged the private sector to develop new innovative solutions and AssertID has responded to that challenge.
AssertID is uniquely positioned to solve these problems. AssertID’s social-web based identity verification solution can verify the parent’s identity using AssertID’s patent-pending social-verification process. AssertID’s solution is less intrusive because the parent is never asked to reveal credit card numbers or any other sensitive information. Also, by allowing parents to add their children to their AssertID profile, AssertID can use the same technology to verify the parent-child relationship.
“We support the FTC’s objective of empowering parents with control over where and how their children’s information is to be shared.” said Keith Dennis, president of AssertID. “The challenge is to provide parents with the tools and information they need to make informed decisions. To be successful these tools must be simple to use and cost-effective for operators to implement. We believe our solution achieves these objectives.”
AssertID recognizes the significant costs and operational complexity COPPA-compliance can represent for operators so AssertID will offer its baseline parental-consent service free to operators. In this way AssertID intends to remove the two most significant barriers to COPPA compliance – cost and complexity.
The AssertID identity credential is free to end-users and is available as a Facebook application (search: AssertID) or on the AssertID website.
About AssertID, Inc.
AssertID develops privacy and identity-verification solutions leveraging advances in the science of Social Network Analysis (SNA). Our services are free to end-users and are designed to promote trust and civility in online interactions. Our patent-pending technology allows us to deliver low-friction, cost-effective solutions that are effective and easy to use. Because the social web is our data source, our solutions are truly global with few geographic, political or demographic limitations. For more information, visit AssertID.