Advertising to Children, Invite-a-Friend, and the State of Consent – Friday Files

Looking for some weekend reading to catch up on developments? Here are three noteworthy developments and blog posts to consider.

  • Marketing to Children? The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has released a welcome guide to complying with the U.S. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). In Canada, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner has set a high threshold for consent when collecting and using personal information of children under 13 years of age. Although the OPC has not issued similar detailed guidance, marketers will find the FTC’s guidelines to be useful in planning a Canadian strategy as well. These guidelines will not help marketers address Quebec’s unique rules that generally prohibit marketing to children under 13. Find the FTC COPPA Guidance here.
  • Invite-a-Friend Campaigns? Law 360 reports on the outcome of the Poshmark litigation in which the plaintiffs alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The issue was whether the Poshmark App’s “Find People” feature violated the TCPA as an unsolicited invitational text message. When a user of the app used this function, a text message would be sent on behalf of the user to all contacts in the individual’s address book. Poshmark was successful in dismissing the case on the basis that it was not the initiator of the message. Marketers seeking to use this strategy in Canada should exercise caution. Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation operates differently and might not result in the same outcome without additional steps and due diligence. Read the Law 360 report here.
  • What do Canadians think of Consent? The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is engaged in a broad consultation on the state of “consent” as a means for individuals to exercise control over their personal information. The news hasn’t been good. Canadians want to be asked for consent but don’t feel they have the information and tools to provide meaningful consent. The OPC commissioned a focus group to gather qualitative information from Canadians on their perceptions. The report prepared for the OPC can be found on the OPC’s website here.