FTC denies new COPPA application

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has denied an application “without prejudice” by the Entertainment Software Rating Board, Yoti and SuperAwesome for FTC approval of a new mechanism for obtaining parental consent under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA Rule). The applicants in 2023 requested approval for the use of “Privacy-Protective Facial Age Estimation” technology, which analyzes the geometry of a user’s face to confirm that they are an adult.

Under the COPPA Rule, online sites and services directed to children under 13, and those that have actual knowledge they are collecting personal information from children under 13, must obtain parental consent before collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from a child. The rule lays out a number of acceptable methods for gaining parental consent but also includes a provision allowing interested parties to submit new verifiable parental consent methods to the FTC for approval.

After receiving more than 350 comments, the FTC voted 4-0 to deny the application without prejudice to the applicants filing in the future, when the FTC anticipates that additional information will be available to assist the FTC and the public in better understanding age verification technologies and the application. In declining the application at this time, the FTC is taking no position on the merits of the application.