"[...] the OPC is of the view that baseline standards
need to be developed to support parents and educators in terms of
knowing that children's personal information is being
protected. A framework needs to be put in place that will better
inform parents and educators and, ultimately, will better protect
the personal information of children [...]"
South of the border, the United States Federal Trade Commission
(FTC) recently issued a staff report regarding the adequacy of privacy
practices disclosures in the mobile app market for kids.
Although the report was focused on disclosures of privacy
practices, the FTC stated that it will be conducting additional
investigations to determine whether any of the mobile apps violate
the U.S. Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of
1998 (COPPA). COPPA regulates the collection, use, and
disclosure of personal information from children and generally
requires verifiable parental consent to the collection, use and
disclosure of such personal information.
Regarding privacy practices disclosure, the FTC Staff report
there was insufficient disclosure of the data collection, data
sharing and interconnectivity of mobile apps for children;
parents should not have to navigate to lengthy privacy policies
collected and used;
disclosure should be provided prior to downloading and use
because by that point the child may already be using the app and
the parent may have already been charged a fee; and
icons and short disclosures should be used to alert parents if
the mobile app (a) permits information to be shared with social
media, (b) allows "in-app" advertising to occur, or (c)
permits "in-app" purchases.
On the subject of "in-app" advertising, the FTC raised
three concerns with what it assessed was an inadequate level of
parents may want to limit the data collected by advertisers and
ad networks about their children;
even if the advertising is not based on any information
collected from the child, parents may want to limit their
children's exposure to ads; and
parents may not want children to be able to call numbers or
visit websites appearing on in-app advertisements.
In Canada, mobile app developers and marketers should seek legal
advice regarding, among other things, the Quebec Consumer
Protection Act restrictions on advertising to children.
With few exceptions, Quebec prohibits commercial advertising
directed at persons under 13 years of age.
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The British Columbia Court of Appeal in Vancouver Community College v Vancouver Career College (Burnaby) Inc., 2017 BCCA 41 has reversed a lower court decision involving whether the use of keywords in online advertising constitutes passing off.
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