• FTC Reminds Businesses of Revised COPPA FAQ on Send-A-Friend and E-Cards
  • April 18, 2008
  • Law Firm: Winston & Strawn LLP - Chicago Office
  • The FTC recently reminded businesses that it modified the response to its "frequently asked question" on e-cards and forward-to-a-friend campaigns, in particular electronic cards whith Web sites allow children to send to their friends, or Web sites that allow children to forward to their friends "items of interest on" the site. In that response, the FTC had previously indicated that e-cards would fall under a “one-time-use” exception to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, and as such, neither parental consent nor notice was needed. Now the FTC has amended its response, cautioning companies to take care in designing the program if they wish to take advantage of one of the COPPA exceptions. Only if the system automatically deletes the friend's email address that the child provides "immediately after sending the message," will the system fall under the one-time-use exception (meaning that parental notification is not required). If, on the other hand, the system retains the email address for some time then the system is subject to a different exception that does require parental notice. If the system discloses to the receiving friend the sending child's email address or first and last name, then verifiable parental consent is required prior to collection and disclosure.

    TIP: When designing a Web site for children that contains interactive features where information is collected, take care that your site complies with the requirements of COPPA.