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The Entertainment Software Rating Board Proposes New Mechanism for Parental Consent | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has put forth a new verification mechanism designed to ensure proper parental consent under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule (COPPA). The board, which is responsible for age ratings for games in the US and Canada, collaborated with digital ID platform Yoti and online child safety tools company SuperAwesome (now owned by Epic Games) to develop this mechanism.

In accordance with COPPA, US services must obtain parental consent before collecting personal information from children below the age of 13. The ESRB’s proposal, known as “Privacy-Protective Facial Age Estimation,” involves the use of facial recognition software to authenticate the parent’s age. If the software estimates their age to be below the threshold of 25, they will not be permitted to provide consent on behalf of the child.

The US Federal Trade Commission, responsible for enforcing consumer protection laws, released the proposal on July 19th and is currently seeking public comments on its various aspects. These comments will help determine if the method poses risks to personal information or may yield biased results for different demographics.

Yoti and SuperAwesome have been collaborating on exploring the potential of facial age estimation for verifiable parental consent since 2019, as stated in the draft application submitted to the FTC. The ESRB joined the project in early 2023.

If approved through the US government channels, this proposal would allow the use of “Privacy-Protective Facial Age Estimation” to obtain parental consent for any child under 13, regardless of their location. The only requirement would be that the service using this mechanism is based in the US.


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