Consumer advocate groups move to block PrivacyBot

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A coalition of child, health and consumer advocacy groups asked the Federal Trade Commission to deny approval of PrivacyBot.com's proposed guidelines for "safe harbor" status.

The FTC has designed safe harbor for industry groups or others who want to create self-regulatory programs to govern Web site operators' compliance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which goes into effect April 21. The rule requires commercial Web sites that collect personal information from children under age 13 to have a clearly posted privacy policy, obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting and using personal information, and provide parents the option to review and delete their child's personal information.

The coalition, which includes the Center for Media Education and Junkbusters, questions whether PrivacyBot has sufficient resources to enforce its guidelines and to make sure member Web sites stay in compliance with COPPA. For a fee, PrivacyBot will issue privacy seals to sites complying with its guidelines.

Copyright April 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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