Support » Requests and Feedback » Not in compliance with COPPA (federal law)

  • Please modify your software so that it is in compliance with COPPA rules. We are not allowed to collect email addresses of minors without written permission of the parent.

    Right now the software is violating federal law.

    The system needs to prescreen subscribers and those under 13 can not have persional information stored in the database. Its ok to mail them a password but we can not store any persional information about them, including the email address.

    I have modified my signup screens in my copy to send minors to another screen telling them they can not subscribe but this is only a work arround.
    We need a special minor subscription level built in the software that way minors can make post but we will not have any persional info on them..

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 46 total)
  • Interesting. Never thought about that. Though could you just create a disclaimer page?

    This has been around a very long time. You need to have massive warnings up. I believe (there may be more current info than this) that if you put up warnings, on the page, on the forum, and at the time of “click this to submit”, you are covered and don’t need to provide user levels to accomodate this, unless you are providing information for kids. Then it gets complicated.

    There are scripts and all kinds of things already out there that will handle this. Check the net and I bet you will find a bunch that you can easily add to your WordPress site. There are some gammers who hang out here, too, and hopefully they will spot this. If not, post again in a few days targetting them specifically with a title like: Need Sign Up for Under Age Only. A lot of people don’t know what COPPA is.

    what’s the definition of details though? If an anonymous user visits your blog to comment, enters a username, email and web address is that still a violation?

    This is a US law as far as I am aware, correct?

    Take a look at the pre-registration info used by phpBB (their software also includes a way to handle under-13 COPPA in the general board configs). My understanding for MY STATE ONLY (Utah) is that if you have a disclaimer specific to your personal site’s policy for under-13s, you are covered (for instance, I simply don’t “allow” registration by under-13s, spelled out in the disclaimers – yes, they can register and I’ll never know until something comes up, but I’m covered by the disclaimer, according to someone I know in the State DA’s office.)

    That’s because I don’t have sites relevant to kids, though. If you have gaming sites, or “kid fun” sites etc. you have to be REALLY careful….

    In the long run, it’s not the software’s problem, it’s the site owner’s problem (in the US only!) – you need to handle it, not expect WP to do so.

    If it is found out later (or whenever) that the poster is underage, you are responsible and can be fined, closed down and stamped on.

    It is a US law but actually other countries in the world have even harsher laws on some of these things. If you have content that is considered “sensitive” to children (whatever the heck that means since I’ve heard children be more insensitive than adults 😉 ), you are obligated/required to find out what the laws are in your country, but you can get nailed by the country (and their laws) of the poster. Things are a changing and crossing borders on the Internet. It’s a complicated and messy business.

    The point is, it is up to YOU to find out how the laws apply to your site. They can come after you with little thought to your rights. They work on the premis that ignorance is not only not an excuse but justification for them teaching you a lesson.

    Did you know that if you have a government run/sponsored/associated with website in England and you are not in compliance with their accessibility laws for equal access (mostly disabled but there are other things), your site can not only be closed down but you can be fined AND sued and possibly worse? They are expanding (last I heard) the law to cover all corporate websites over X size, whatever the X is.

    Ain’t it swell to live in the age of litigation.

    California does something similar regarding personal info for everyone. Thing is, no matter what you do, you may be liable at some point, or at least some high-priced attorney may attempt to prove liability. I do what I can to check out the legalities and liabilities, and don’t live in fear over it…. but then, I have really good umbrella insurance coverage too….

    Well screw the law, I have a disclaimer, it’s a crazy US law (though I see the benefits of protection), and that should suffice. It’s not so crazy in blighty and there’s an 18+ sign so….good enough for me. Plus I dont’ keep any details either.

    All you want to do is blog, and all you get is governance on what you can or cannot do. Even on the net. Joy.

    Yeah. No such thing as freedom….

    “Freedom defined is freedom denied. (Illuminatus)”

    (Actually, you do keep details: they’re in the database….)

    Please note that COPPA does not necessarily apply to all sites allowing registration. From the page tmaster linked to above:

    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.

    thanks for clearing that up braindwidth. if it’s not one thing, it’s another. one less thing to worry about:)

    How to provide such compliance:
    1) provide notice to the audience;

    2) obtain verifiable parental consent prior to any use or disclosure of personal information;

    3) provide reasonable access to parents of personal information collected; and

    4) implement reasonable measure to protect the confidentiality, security, and integrity of the personal information collected.

    And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    Mark (podz)


    Support Maven

    “Please modify your software so that it is in compliance with COPPA rules”

    And you are WHO exactly to preach ? Go away 🙂

    Careful, Podz. I know the poster’s note made it sound like it is an attack on WP. It isn’t. It is a copy of what they got hit with. Bad presentation, important point, and they are looking for some help from us on how to deal with providing double/triple protection, scripts, plugins, or otherwise to deal with this issue. It is not an attack on WP. I thought so, too, until I really read it.

    I don’t know, Lorelle…. I’ve read it half a dozen times, and it looks to me like the way Podz read it, too….

    Regardless, it’s not the part of the software to cover anyone’s ass.

    >>>We need a special minor subscription level built in the software that way minors can make post but we will not have any persional info on them..<<<

    I’d say that is a plea for help. I’ll ask better for this poster.

    1. Are there any plugins or scripts that anyone knows about that will double/triple warn people registering that they better be over 18 and/or ask for parental consent?

    2. How are others handling this issue so we can all learn how to use WordPress comment and interactivity features to accomodate such rules and laws?

    3. If there aren’t any simple plugins, how would someone go about adding such stuff to their WordPress site. Sure, a page on policy, a warning in the comments, but what about a window that pops up after posting a comment that asks “Are you sure you are legal to participate here?” kinda thing that requires an extra click before adding the comment to the list. Would that need to be added to the comment template file? How? That kind of thing.

    4. Is it already part of the WordPress User/Author/Comment features that says at X level information about the user isn’t entered or saved? How do you turn that on or off.

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 46 total)
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