ESRB Privacy Certified Introduces New Services For Mobile Apps

June 25, 2013

Revamped Program Expands to Help Companies Comply with Impending COPPA Rule Requirements

NEW YORK, NY – The Entertainment Software Rating Board, (www.esrb.org), the non-profit, self-regulatory body for the video game industry, today announced that its privacy seal certification program, ESRB Privacy Certified, now offers expanded services to help companies responsibly manage their mobile app privacy practices. The program’s services include helping companies achieve compliance with the recently revised Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule, which the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires by July 1st.

“Privacy protection is an imperative for companies of all sizes, especially when kids are involved. But achieving compliance with requirements like COPPA can be complicated, particularly for rapidly evolving platforms like mobile,” said Dona Fraser, vice president of ESRB Privacy Certified. “By extending our services beyond website operators to include mobile app developers as well, we are helping ensure that their products provide a trustworthy environment for user interaction and information sharing.”

ESRB Privacy Certified, which builds on the ESRB’s existing Privacy Online program, offers a suite of services that are increasingly vital given the heightened attention paid by consumers and regulators to the handling of personal information on websites and mobile devices. Key services include:

  • Individualized privacy risk assessment for all online and mobile properties;
  • Solutions for obtaining verifiable parental consent for users under age 13 (a COPPA Rule requirement);
  • Guidance on providing concise “short form” privacy disclosures to mobile users;
  • Consultation on privacy policy development; and
  • Ongoing compliance monitoring and

“ESRB’s privacy program is an extension of our mission to help consumers make informed choices about the games they and their families enjoy,” added ESRB President Patricia Vance. “Our unique expertise in interactive digital media offers tremendous value to companies that are grappling with implementing responsible and transparent privacy practices.”

Companies that meet the program’s requirements may display one of the following seals:

Signifies that a general audience website complies with global privacy laws and best practices.

Signifies that a child-directed website or app complies with applicable laws and requirements such as COPPA.

Signifies that a mobile app complies with mobile privacy standards and best practices.

These seals certify the highest level of privacy protection as well as compliance with regulations set forth by authorities in North America, Europe and other territories. Their new design evokes the trusted ESRB game rating system and communicates that the member’s brand and  products respect and protect user privacy.

The ESRB has become increasingly active in addressing privacy-related concerns. Most notably the ESRB recently introduced “Interactive Elements,” the newest part of its rating system designed to disclose upfront to consumers of digitally delivered games and apps about the sharing of a user’s personal information or location with third parties, or the potential for interacting with other users. With Interactive Elements and the expanded Privacy Certified program, ESRB continues to provide valuable tools and services to help companies market their products responsibly and consumers make informed choices.

About ESRB & ESRB Privacy Certified

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is the non-profit organization that assigns age and content ratings for video games and apps so parents can make informed choices. As part of its self- regulatory role for the video game industry the ESRB also enforces guidelines that ensure responsible advertising and marketing practices. ESRB was established in 1994 by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

ESRB Privacy Certified, one of only five programs to earn Safe Harbor status from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), assists websites and mobile apps in remaining compliant with global privacy regulations and best practices. The program provides individualized guidance on building sound privacy practices into a member’s business, a privacy-first approach that helps protect consumer trust. No ESRB Privacy Certified member has ever faced investigations or penalties from the FTC or state attorneys general related to their COPPA disclosures or practices – a testament to the program’s ability to protect members.

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Beth Llewlyn
[email protected]