As many people have pointed out, this isn't just a U.S. issue. However, it is a big enough issue overall that providing some basic level of core support to it should be considered in a next round (maybe as a hack/plugin in the interim). But it got me wondering: what do OTHER blog programs do for this same issue? I've seen the over-13 side of many a phpBB forum registration, but never the other side. Does it as for a parental email address and wait to unlock the account until the parental-response allows it?
I disagree with how Podz last responded to this topic ("If this gets into the core, I'll dump WP"), and think Lorelle's questions back did a good job trying to get more information out of the poster. I'll assume for the moment Podz was trying to say: the person hosting the site ("the website operator"), and not the maker of the software, is responsible for the data collection and how it applies to local laws. WP could >help<, but is in no way responsible. You can modify the software all you want to make it as compliant as you need for your site.
Certainly, WP could try to make an easier jumping-off point for better compliance for those who want to or need to be in compliance with COPPA or other localities' laws and regulations.
At the least:
- the registration page should have a checkbox/radio for stating over/under 13, and a redirect-page for handling under-13 processing... Which for the moment should be left up to the site developer to decide whether to say "You can't sign up" or "A parent must sign up for you" or whatever. Then again, having a few 'solutions' ready to drop in wouldn't be hard.
- I'm not sure what can be done about Comments. Name & Email are used to firmly verify a person and not a bot. A disclaimer is one quick way to try and get around this.
- Someone with better knowledge could say whether IP address tracking is an issue in the slightest. Without personally-identifiable data, like Name, Address, Phone, an IP address really isn't personally-identifying.
Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, and wouldn't ever think of anything I say as being legal advice. If you need legal advice, PAY A LAWYER. ;)