Startup Lands Funding to Help App Developers Comply With Kid Privacy Rules
AgeCheq, a Pennsylvania-based age verification startup, will announce a $1 million series A funding round Tuesday as part of an effort to ramp up its services to help app and game developers stay out of trouble with federal officials. The privately held company didn’t disclose the identify of the investors.
App and game developers who make products that are used by kids ages 13 and younger are now required to comply with stricter federal standards on collecting information and requiring parent consent and notification about what information is collected about the child.
The Federal Trade Commission updated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act — which was originally enacted by Congress sixteen years ago — at the end of 2012 to better cover websites, smartphone and tablet apps and games that are popular with kids. The updated rules went into effect last July.
The agency hasn’t yet begun publicly cracking down on app or game publishers that aren’t complying with the new rules, but it’s likely coming. Agency officials have taken enforcement of children’s privacy rules seriously in the past.
AgeCheq is among a growing list of companies providing COPPA-focused identification and notification services to websites, app and game developers.
It makes software which can be used by app and game developers using iOS, Android and HTML5 to comply with the new COPPA rules, including parental notification and verification. For consumers, the company’s product gives parents a dashboard that shows privacy information about the apps or games being used by their kids. It offers both free and paid versions for both publishers and parents.
“The FTC told the industry they’d give them a grace period into being compliant. The law has been [in] effect for seven months,” said Roy Smith, CEO of AgeCheq, which launched last year. “If the FTC goes after them they could [go] out of business. This is a sword that’s hanging over the heads of all game developers.”
In December, the FTC approved a new parental consent method proposed by age and identification company Imperium Inc., which allows sites or apps to ask a series of questions that parents would be able to answer, but kids wouldn’t.