FTC Seeking Input In Child Site Visitor Rules. You Really Should Weigh In On This One

The Federal Trade Commission is reworking its rules on how E-Commerce sites have to deal with children (12 years old and younger) who visit. Yes, "uh-oh" is the correct response. The FTC is officially soliciting feedback on its proposed changes to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule. It might be a good idea to take a peek at its changes and offer some feedback.

Do they need help? One of the FTC's questions was whether certain emerging technologies are "Web sites located on the Internet" or "online services." Web sites located on the Internet? As opposed to what? One begins to wonder if the FTC understands that the Worldwide Web and E-mail and FTP and newsgroups and IP services are all part of the Internet. No matter. The issues being debated include parental consent methods, along with how it's determined who is a child and who isn't, given that some children might simply opt to lie. From an E-tail perspective, there are huge implications about verification, handling this data and delays before legitimate information can be gathered. The rules themselves look fairly benign, but the FTC needs to hear more comments from E-tail IT folk about the implications of various methods of authentication and collection. Better to help form the rules now then to complain about them later. (Note: As an IT person, you do have an obligation to do both.)