What information do we collect?
We collect information from you when you register on our site, subscribe to our newsletter or fill out a form.When ordering or registering on our site, as appropriate, you may be asked to enter your: name, e-mail address and/or Zip Code. You may, however, visit our site anonymously.
What do we use your information for?
Any of the information we collect from you may be used in one of the following ways:To personalize your experience (your information helps us to better respond to your individual needs)To improve our website (we continually strive to improve our website offerings based on the information and feedback we receive from you)To improve customer service (your information helps us to more effectively respond to your customer service requests and support needs)To administer a contest, promotion, survey or other site featureTo send periodic emails. The email address you provide may be used to send you information, respond to inquiries, and/or other requests or questions.
How do we protect your information?
We implement a variety of security measures to maintain the safety of your personal information when you enter, submit, or access your personal information.We offer the use of a secure server. All supplied sensitive information is transmitted via Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology into our Database to be only accessed by those authorized with special access rights to our systems, and are required to keep the information confidential.
Do we disclose any information to outside parties?
We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information. This does not include trusted third parties who assist us in operating our website, conducting our business, or servicing you, so long as those parties agree to keep this information confidential. We may also release your information when we believe release is appropriate to comply with the law, enforce our site policies, or protect others or ours rights, property, or safety. However, non-personally identifiable visitor information may be provided to other parties for marketing, advertising, or other uses.
Third party links
Occasionally, at our discretion, we may include or offer third party products or services on our website. These third party sites have separate and independent privacy policies. We therefore have no responsibility or liability for the content and activities of these linked sites. Nonetheless, we seek to protect the integrity of our site and welcome any feedback about these sites.
California Online Privacy Protection Act Compliance
Because we value your privacy we have taken the necessary precautions to be in compliance with the California Online Privacy Protection Act. We therefore will not distribute your personal information to outside parties without your consent. As part of the California Online Privacy Protection Act, all users of our site may make any changes to their information at anytime by logging into their control panel and going to the ‘Edit Profile’ page.
Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Compliance
We are in compliance with the requirements of COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) as evidenced below.
2601 S. Bayshore Drive
Miami, FL 33133
An operator must post a link to a notice of its information practices on the home page of its Web site or online service and at each area where it collects personal information from children. An operator of a general audience site with a separate children’s area must post a link to its notice on the home page of the children’s area.The link to the privacy notice must be clear and prominent. Operators may want to use a larger font size or a different color type on a contrasting background to make it stand out. A link in small print at the bottom of the page or a link that is indistinguishable from other links on your site — is not considered clear and prominent.ContentThe notice must be clearly written and understandable; it should not include any unrelated or confusing materials. It must state the following information:The name and contact information (address, telephone number and email address) of all operators collecting or maintaining children’s personal information through the Web site or online service. If more than one operator is collecting information at the site, the site may select and provide contact information for only one operator who will respond to all inquiries from parents about the site’s privacy policies. Still, the names of all the operators must be listed in the notice.The kinds of personal information collected from children (for example, name, address, email address, hobbies, etc.) and how the information is collected — directly from the child or passively, say, through cookies.How the operator uses the personal information. For example, is it for marketing back to the child? Notifying contest winners? Allowing the child to make the information publicly available through a chat room?Whether the operator discloses information collected from children to third parties. If so, the operator also must disclose the kinds of businesses in which the third parties are engaged; the general purposes for which the information is used; and whether the third parties have agreed to maintain the confidentiality and security of the information.That the parent has the option to agree to the collection and use of the child’s information without consenting to the disclosure of the information to third parties.That the operator may not require a child to disclose more information than is reasonably necessary to participate in an activity as a condition of participation.That the parent can review the child’s personal information, ask to have it deleted and refuse to allow any further collection or use of the child’s information. The notice also must state the procedures for the parent to follow.
Direct Notice to Parents
ContentThe notice to parents must contain the same information included on the notice on the Web site. In addition, an operator must notify a parent that it wishes to collect personal information from the child; that the parent’s consent is required for the collection, use and disclosure of the information; and how the parent can provide consent. The notice to parents must be written clearly and understandably, and must not contain any unrelated or confusing information. An operator may use any one of a number of methods to notify a parent, including sending an email message to the parent or a notice by postal mail.
Verifiable Parental Consent
Before collecting, using or disclosing personal information from a child, an operator must obtain verifiable parental consent from the child’s parent. This means an operator must make reasonable efforts (taking into consideration available technology) to ensure that before personal information is collected from a child, a parent of the child receives notice of the operator’s information practices and consents to those practices.Until April 2002, the FTC will use a sliding scale approach to parental consent in which the required method of consent will vary based on how the operator uses the child’s personal information. That is, if the operator uses the information for internal purposes, a less rigorous method of consent is required. If the operator discloses the information to others , the situation presents greater dangers to children, and a more reliable method of consent is required. The sliding scale approach will sunset in April 2002 subject to a Commission review planned for October 2001.
Operators may use email to get parental consent for all internal uses of personal information, such as marketing back to a child based on his or her preferences or communicating promotional updates about site content, as long as they take additional steps to increase the likelihood that the parent has, in fact, provided the consent. For example, operators might seek confirmation from a parent in a delayed confirmatory email, or confirm the parent’s consent by letter or phone call.
When operators want to disclose a child’s personal information to third parties or make it publicly available (for example, through a chat room or message board), the sliding scale requires them to use a more reliable method of consent, including:getting a signed form from the parent via postal mail or facsimile;accepting and verifying a credit card number in connection with a transaction;taking calls from parents, through a toll-free telephone number staffed by trained personnel;email accompanied by digital signature;But in the case of a monitored chat room, if all individually identifiable information is stripped from postings before it is made public — and the information is deleted from the operator’s records — an operator does not have to get prior parental consent.
Disclosures to Third Parties
An operator must give a parent the option to agree to the collection and use of the child’s personal information without agreeing to the disclosure of the information to third parties. However, when a parent agrees to the collection and use of their child’s personal information, the operator may release that information to others who uses it solely to provide support for the internal operations of the website or service, including technical support and order fulfillment.
The regulations include several exceptions that allow operators to collect a child’s email address without getting the parent’s consent in advance. These exceptions cover many popular online activities for kids, including contests , online newsletters , homework help and electronic postcards.Prior parental consent is not required when:an operator collects a child’s or parent’s email address to provide notice and seek consent;an operator collects an email address to respond to a one-time request from a child and then deletes it;an operator collects an email address to respond more than once to a specific request say, for a subscription to a newsletter. In this case, the operator must notify the parent that it is communicating regularly with the child and give the parent the opportunity to stop the communication before sending or delivering a second communication to a child;an operator collects a child’s name or online contact information to protect the safety of a child who is participating on the site. In this case, the operator must notify the parent and give him or her the opportunity to prevent further use of the information;an operator collects a child’s name or online contact information to protect the security or liability of the site or to respond to law enforcement, if necessary, and does not use it for any other purpose.
October 2001/April 2002
In October 2001, the Commission will seek public comment to determine whether technology has progressed and whether secure electronic methods for obtaining verifiable parental consent are widely available and affordable. Subject to the Commission’s review, the sliding scale will expire in April 2002. Until then, operators are encouraged to use the more reliable methods of consent for all uses of children’s personal information.
New Notice for Consent
An operator is required to send a new notice and request for consent to parents if there are material changes in the collection, use or disclosure practices to which the parent had previously agreed. Take the case of the operator who got parental consent for a child to participate in contests that require the child to submit limited personal information, but who now wants to offer the child chat rooms. Or, consider the case of the operator who wants to disclose the child’s information to third parties who are in materially different lines of business from those covered by the original consent — for example, marketers of diet pills rather than marketers of stuffed animals. In these cases, the Rule requires new notice and consent.
At a parent’s request, operators must disclose the general kinds of personal information they collect online from children (for example, name, address, telephone number, email address, hobbies), as well as the specific information collected from children who visit their sites. Operators must use reasonable procedures to ensure they are dealing with the child’s parent before they provide access to the child’s specific information.They can use a variety of methods to verify the parent’s identity, including:obtaining a signed form from the parent via postal mail or facsimile;accepting and verifying a credit card number;taking calls from parents on a toll-free telephone number staffed by trained personnel;email accompanied by digital signature;email accompanied by a PIN or password obtained through one of the verification methods above.Operators who follow one of these procedures acting in good faith to a request for parental access are protected from liability under federal and state law for inadvertent disclosures of a child’s information to someone who purports to be a parent.
Revoking and Deleting
At any time, a parent may revoke his/her consent, refuse to allow an operator to further use or collect their child’s personal information, and direct the operator to delete the information. In turn, the operator may terminate any service provided to the child, but only if the information at issue is reasonably necessary for the child’s participation in that activity. For example, an operator may require children to provide their email addresses to participate in a chat room so the operator can contact a youngster if he is misbehaving in the chat room. If, after giving consent, a parent asks the operator to delete the child’s information, the operator may refuse to allow the child to participate in the chat room in the future. If other activities on the Web site do not require the child’s email address, the operator must allow the child access to those activities.
The Rule covers all personal information collected after April 21, 2000, regardless of any prior relationship an operator has had with a child. For example, if an operator collects the name and email address of a child before April 21, 2000, but plans to seek information about the child’s street address after that date, the later collection would trigger the Rule’s requirements. In addition, come April 21, 2000, if an operator continues to offer activities that involve the ongoing collection of information from children — like a chat room — or begins to offer such activities for the first time, notice and consent are required for all participating children regardless of whether the children had already registered at the site.
Industry groups or others can create self-regulatory programs to govern participants’ compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule. These guidelines must include independent monitoring and disciplinary procedures and must be submitted to the Commission for approval. The Commission will publish the guidelines and seek public comment in considering whether to approve the guidelines. An operator’s compliance with Commission-approved self-regulatory guidelines will generally serve as a ‘safe harbor’ in any enforcement action for violations of the Rule.
The Commission may bring enforcement actions and impose civil penalties for violations of the Rule in the same manner as for other Rules under the FTC Act. The Commission also retains authority under Section 5 of the FTC Act to examine information practices for deception and unfairness, including those in use before the Rule’s effective date. In interpreting Section 5 of the FTC Act, the Commission has determined that a representation, omission or practice is deceptive if it is likely to:mislead consumers; andaffect consumers’ behavior or decisions about the product or service.Specifically, it is a deceptive practice under Section 5 to represent that a Web site is collecting personal identifying information from a child for one reason (say, to earn points to redeem a premium) when the information will be used for another reason that a parent would find material — and when the Web site does not disclose the other reason clearly or prominently.In addition, an act or practice is unfair if the injury it causes, or is likely to cause, is:substantial;not outweighed by other benefits; andnot reasonably avoidable.For example, it is likely to be an unfair practice in violation of Section 5 to collect personal identifying information from a child, such as email address, home address or phone number, and disclose that information to a third party without giving parents adequate notice and a chance to control the collection and use of the information.