Consumer Group Challenges Jest8’s Application for New COPPA Parent Verification Technology
By: Jeff Chester | Sep 14 2015
Washington, DC - September 14,th 2015 - The Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) filed comments at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in response to an application from Jest8 Limited (trading as Riyo) for a new verifiable parental consent (VPC) method that purports to be in compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). That act requires the operators of websites directed at children under 13 to obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting any personal information from a child. But as CDD’s detailed filing makes clear, Jest8’s system, which attempts to match a photo of a parent with a photo of that parent’s ID, fails on three fundamental counts: (1) it does not ensure that the person submitting the photographic evidence is, in fact, the parent; (2) it does not satisfactorily demonstrate that its facial recognition algorithms are sufficiently reliable to be deployed in the sensitive area of children’s privacy; and (3) it poses a severe risk to the consumer data that it collects in the process of undertaking its “Face Match to Verified Photo Identification,” with no assurance that it it will promptly delete such data as promised. The filing also raises questions about the applicant’s lack of any background on privacy issues, especially those that address the needs of children.
“The FTC must ensure that a parent is actually authorizing the collection of their child’s data,” explained CDD executive director Jeff Chester. “Jest8 fails to provide any serious guarantee that a child’s privacy will be protected, and that their parent or guardian has made an informed decision.”
CDD (through its predecessor, the Center for Media Education) spearheaded the campaign that led to the passage of COPPA in 1998. More recently, CDD successfully organized the effort to update and strengthen the COPPA rules in 2012, working with a coalition of consumer, child advocacy, and health organizations.
A copy of CDD’s FTC filing is available at www.democraticmedia.org.
The CDD's comments on Jest8's application, attached below.