PRIVO, Verizon Launch Federally Funded Pilot on Child Privacy Online

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Verizon is collaborating with Privacy Vaults Online Inc. (PRIVO) to roll out a federally-funded pilot program that will protect the online activities and personal information of children. As PRIVO’s primary technology provider, Verizon will deploy its identity management and cloud technologies, providing parents more control over the online activities of their children and helping businesses comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

The program will be funded by a two-year federal grant valued up to $3.2 million. Under the pilot, PRIVO will establish the Minors Trust Framework, a collection of policies and online tools that provides parents more control over the online activities of their children and helps businesses meet the requirements of COPPA.

“What we’re doing is starting with a law that already exists – COPPA, and building a policy and outreach plan that will ensure the privacy of children’s sensitive data online and make it easier for parents to provide consent to services, instead of kids just fibbing about their age to get around barriers,” Denise Tayloe, president and chief executive officer of PRIVO tells CivSource. “Businesses that sign on to participate in the pilot will be able to tell parents and children that they are trusted, and create more conversions through parental consent. For parents, they’ll be able to keep tabs on what their children are doing online and what data is being shared about them.”

The grant awarded to PRIVO is provided by the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, or NSTIC, a public- and private-sector initiative launched by the White House in 2011 to create an Internet-identity ecosystem that improves the privacy, security and convenience of sensitive online transactions and activities. It is part of the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Verizon’s cloud and identity management technologies will help enable the framework, which will support the use of privacy-enhancing login credentials by families, teachers and businesses. The online identity credentials – delivered through Verizon’s Universal Identity Services – will indicate parental consent, helping to reduce the capture of sensitive information about a child.

“Verizon has a long history of being involved in identity management,” says Peter Graham, senior identity strategist, Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “We are recognized as a leader in this area, and we can bring to bear the necessary technology including multi-factor identity verification and self-service management.”

PRIVO has committed to hitting targets for both identity certifications, and companies that use the framework over the two-year period. The company is working with partners like Verizon, and other participants to work through issues like the credentialing and fee structures for participating companies. PRIVO was established as a company in 2001, and was already focused on helping parents, and entities comply with COPPA. The pilot project emerged as a next phase for that work.