FTC Seeks Comment on PrivacyBot.Com Safe Harbor

The Federal Trade Commission said yesterday it is seeking public comment on the provisions of a plan by PrivacyBot.com to issue a “seal” indicating that Internet Web sites that comply with its provisions meet the requirements of the FTC’s Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule.

The FTC issued the Rule in October 1999 requiring children’s Web site operators to post comprehensive privacy policies on their sites, notify parents about information practices and obtain parental consent before collecting any personal information from children under the age of 13. The rule also directed the commission to review and approve safe harbors — self-regulatory guidelines that would comply with the act. The PrivacyBot.com safe harbor is the first the FTC has received under the Rule.

The FTC is seeking public comment on whether the guidelines provide “the same or greater protections for children” as those contained in the rule; whether the mechanisms used to asses operator’s compliance are effective; whether incentives for the operators to comply with the guidelines are effective and whether the guidelines provide adequate means for resolving consumer complaints.

Copies of the application are available at www.ftc.gov.

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