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iAwful List - What's your response?

8:38 pm on Aug 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I'm curious to know if anyone is making any changes to their sites based on the recent enactment of a law in Maine, which basically requires "verifiable parental consent" to request or posses "personal information" from minors.

Here's the law: [mainelegislature.org...]
as well as the NetChoice article about it: [netchoice.org...]

I am a webmaster for a company which markets toys and games, and I'm curious how others are treating this announcement. Thus far, our company has not changed anything, but that's because we've always had a policy of requiring parental approval before having communication with minors.


7:01 pm on Aug 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I haven't read up on this...
What does "verifiable parental consent" mean? Do we have to verify that a 13-year-old didn't just click the "I'm 18" button themselves?
7:39 pm on Aug 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

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No problem! When a teenager requests to set up an account on your website, just require the Social Security number, date of birth, and current mailing address of both parents. Send certified letters asking the parents to confirm the information and consent and return it in the mail. Allow 6-8 weeks for processing, then the account is approved. Piece of cake!
9:12 pm on Aug 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

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@webwitch - (congrats BTW) good questions- wondering that myself. It always seems like these kind of laws are written by the people that least understand their impact

@arieng - agreed, there's the plan. We'll have to create a 'Maine Offset Factor' for our visitor stats....

5:32 pm on Sept 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Although this wasn't a hugely popular topic, here's the follow-up: A Federal Court has deemed the law unconstitutional, see: [eweek.com...]

Quoted: "Today's order sheds light on how the law harms the rights of teenagers, parents and businesses to share information through legitimate and lawful commercial activities," Steve DelBianco, executive director of NetChoice, said in a statement. "We look forward to working with the Maine legislature to develop policy that will both protect the privacy of children while also respecting the Constitution. In the meantime, the judge rightfully put private litigants ‘on notice’ that the law has serious constitutional defects and any litigation based on the law will likely not be successful."

Hopefully they will be a bit more thoughtful in crafting the update.

5:52 pm on Sept 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

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A perfect example of how the lawmakers/courts relationship is very much akin to the teenagers/parents relationship. The rebellious teens (lawmakers) seek to assert their independence and go off and do crazy things, then the parents (courts) have to bring them back into line. And just like teens, lawmakers often have no concept about how their actions will affect the rest of society.
9:29 pm on Sept 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Nothing new here. In the UK "personal information" is that which can lead to the identity of an individual, and "personal sensitive information" is a higher category that includes the under 16's. Any site collecting this class of information is already bound by at least 2 laws that may require "verifiable parental consent" :

Where marketing to young people is involved – including via the Internet - a person under 18 could be expected to understand the implications of giving consent in suitable cases. A company in this area would need to consider if, for example, a 13-14 year old could be expected to understand the implications of giving consent to processing of their personal data in order to avail of a particular product or service. Otherwise, the consent of a parent or guardian should be obtained and suitable authentication measures adopted to make sure that such consent is genuine.

source [dataprotection.ie]

[edited by: httpwebwitch at 3:10 am (utc) on Sep. 12, 2009]
[edit reason] added citation [/edit]

12:08 am on Sept 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

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To be honest I have not read the new Maine Law but wasn't there already something similar to this called coppa?

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