Free plug-and-play compliance solution for Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act also helps parents keep their kids’ online privacy in check
LOS ANGELES – MobilityWire® – November 5, 2013
AgeCheq, a new company aiming to help mobile app and game publishers comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), today announced that its free multi-platform API is now available to developers and publishers looking for a simple and low-cost way to adhere to the U.S. government’s COPPA regulations to avoid costly fines and other penalties. AgeCheq also gives parents unparalleled visibility and control over the mobile apps and games their children use. The basic AgeCheq service is completely free for both app publishers and for parents.
COPPA was passed in 1998 to protect children under the age of 13 as they used the Internet, and it was revised in 2012 to extend its privacy protections to mobile apps and games. In force since July 1, 2013, the updated COPPA now addresses the explosive growth of online data collection, behavioral marketing, and the ubiquitous use of tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices by young children. COPPA is designed to strengthen kids’ privacy protections and give parents greater control over their children’s personal information. Any app or game that could be reasonably used by children aged 13 or younger must be COPPA compliant. Penalties for non-compliance include fines of up to $16,000 per user.
Launched today from the Game Developer’s Conference (GDC Next 2013) in Los Angeles, AgeCheq’s complete “COPPA compliance ecosystem” serves the needs of both app developers, who must comply with the law, and parents, who want to regain control of their children’s digital privacy. AgeCheq offers app publishers a frictionless path to make their apps and games COPPA compliant, at no cost.
“The process of validating a parent’s ID, providing complete disclosures that parents can understand, and gaining parental approval for a child to play an app are completely new friction points for app and game publishers,” said Roy Smith, founder and CEO of AgeCheq. “Implemented poorly, these friction points could reduce game play and limit monetization, yet they are required elements for COPPA compliance. If each publisher were to create their own verification system, parents would quickly tire of validating their identity over and over. As we’ve seen already from some of the early attempts at compliance, the “disclosures” offered by publishers vary widely from unintelligible to acceptable. The mobile app industry requires a single, simple-to-use system that manages COPPA compliance for both publishers and parents, and that is exactly what AgeCheq is.”
A December 2012 FTC study on mobile apps for kids stated, “most apps fail to provide any information about the data collected through the app, let alone the type of data collected, the purpose of the collection, and who would obtain access to the data. Even more troubling, the results (of the study) showed that many of the apps shared certain information – such as device ID, geolocation, or phone number – with third parties without disclosing that fact to parents. Further, a number of apps contained interactive features – such as advertising, the ability to make in-app purchases, and links to social media – without disclosing these features to parents prior to download. It is clear that more needs to be done in order to provide parents with greater transparency in the mobile app marketplace.”
For App and Game Publishers:
With AgeCheq, developers and publishers eliminate the cost and effort of creating their own COPPA compliance suite. AgeCheq delivers a complete solution to verify parents’ identities; provide them with simple-to-understand disclosure statements about the information each app collects, stores, and shares; and offers a streamlined parental “dashboard” showing approved apps and enabling parents to revoke approval. Native iOS, Android and HTML5 SDKs allow an existing app or game to be retrofitted for COPPA compliance, tested, and updated to the app store within one day.
AgeCheq provides parents a central location to easily see and then approve or disapprove of what is going on behind the scenes within the mobile apps their children use. As the industry’s de-facto parental supervision portal for mobile apps, AgeCheq obviates the need for parents to go through multiple ID verifications or learn different ways to approve apps for their kids. Parents set up an AgeCheq account only once, and from there AgeCheq handles all COPPA parental interaction, giving parents complete transparency into what information each app is capturing and storing, before a child uses it. The AgeCheq logo on an app tells parents who care about their kids privacy that they’ll be able to easily see and manage their child’s use of the app. Parents who wish to sign up for AgeCheq can learn more and join the waiting list at http://www.agecheq.com/parents.
AgeCheq offers app and game developers COPPA compliance with minimal effort and no cost. Publishers interested in becoming COPPA compliant tomorrow can sign up today at http://www.agecheq.com/developers.
The AgeCheq executive team is available at GDC Next and the App Developers Conference, November 5-7, 2013, in Los Angeles, to provide demonstrations of the AgeCheq solution, answer questions, and discuss the far reaching impact of COPPA law. To schedule a meeting with AgeCheq or to learn more, please contact Melissa Burns at 208-850-5939 or AgeCheq@mobilitypr.com.
AgeCheq is a complete “COPPA compliance ecosystem,” serving the needs of both app developers who must comply with the law and parents who want to regain control of their children’s online privacy. AgeCheq offers app publishers a frictionless path to make their apps and games COPPA compliant, at no cost. For parents, AgeCheq provides a single point of contact where they can easily see, and approve or disapprove, of what is going on behind the scenes in the apps their children use. AgeCheq is platform-agnostic and can be integrated into an existing app and tested within a day. For more information visit http://www.AgeCheq.com.
Link to FTC Study: http://ftc.gov/os/2012/12/121210mobilekidsappreport.pdf
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