On August 13, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission approved changes to the video game industry’s safe harbor guidelines under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) Rule. COPPA’s “safe harbor” provision enables industry groups to propose self-regulatory guidelines regarding COPPA compliance for FTC approval.
The Entertainment Software Ratings Board (“ESRB”)’s proposed modifications were opened to a comment and notice period between April and May of this year. The ESRB’s suggestions elicited five comments from individuals and consumer advocates, including that the ESRB retain language from the existing program that defines street-level geolocation information as personal information and data. The FTC approved changes to the ESRB’s COPPA safe harbor program by 5-0 vote; in announcing its decision, the FTC noted that the approved, revised guidelines include certain changes addressing issues raised by the commenters.