FPF Submits Comments to the FTC on the Application for a New Parental Consent Method
Today, the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) submitted comments to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding the use of “Privacy-Protective Facial Age Estimation” as a potential mechanism for verifiable parental consent (VPC) under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule.
- The “Privacy-Protective Facial Age Estimation” technology may improve the existing landscape for verifiable parental consent, provided appropriate privacy safeguards are in place;
- The “Privacy-Protective Facial Age Estimation” technology and associated risks are distinct from the biometric privacy risks associated with facial recognition technologies; and
- If the FTC approves the application, the Commission’s approval should require ongoing implementation of the privacy and fairness safeguards outlined in the application.
In June, FPF published The State of Play: Is Verifiable Parental Consent Fit for Purpose?, investigating the shortcomings and opportunities presented by the current framework for verifiable parental consent (VPC) under COPPA and encouraging ingenuity to address key challenges. As federal lawmakers seek more comprehensive ways to update the 1998 law to match the 2023 online landscape, the approval of a new method for obtaining VPC has the potential to improve a process that is grappling with changing technologies, business practices, and individuals’ expectations.
FPF’s comments do not discuss the merits of using technology as a method of age estimation or verification for all users of a child-directed or mixed-audience service, which may place disproportionate privacy risks and burden on all users. Rather, we confine our analysis to the proposed context of this application, which we understand to only refer to the limited use of verifying that a purported parent granting COPPA consent is, in fact, an adult.
FPF’s full comments to the Commission are available here.