TrustArc (formerly TrustE) has faced some legal issues from New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, who claimed that they failed to adequately assess the websites of companies they were listing as safe. This, he said, left them out of compliance with COPPA.
TrustArc settled with the attorney general for $100,000 and an agreement to strengthen their safe harbor program privacy assessments going forward.
They have gone through and made a number of changes to the program and submitted them to the FTC for approval. These changes include a comprehensive internal test that is designed to identify all the different third party features and service providers that are collecting information that could include personal information of children under 13. The system also requires annual recertification.
According to Cameron Russell, the executive director of the Center on Law and Information Policy at Fordham Law School commented to Bloomberg BNA saying, “The requirement of the internal audit, will clear up third-party data collection practices and it would certainly help the third-party collection issue. It gives developers and app stores a better understanding of what’s happening in the apps that target children under 13.
These updates, and especially the FTC approval, will help ensure that TrustArc’s safe harbor certification program is able to continue to function and help consumers understand what sites and apps can and can’t be trusted for their children.