REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 8, 2000 — Expanding its ongoing initiatives to provide children with a positive, safe, online experience, Microsoft Corp. today announced it will soon make available Microsoft® Kids Passport, a new service that helps parents protect their children’s privacy online by deciding whether children may use participating online services that collect and/or disclose personal information. The service will give parents an easy way to determine whether their children should be permitted to disclose personally identifiable information to the online businesses that participate in the Kids Passport program.
Kids Passport also offers e-businesses an easily implemented, turnkey solution for obtaining parental consent to collect a child’s personal information, which will facilitate compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), effective April 21, 2000. COPPA requires that Web sites obtain parental consent before collecting and/or disclosing personal information such as e-mail addresses, postal addresses and phone numbers of children under the age of 13.
“A number of Microsoft initiatives have focused on assisting parents and caregivers with the three critical elements – education, adult supervision and technology – that we believe are necessary for kids to have a positive, safe online experience,”
said Bob Herbold, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Microsoft. With the introduction of Kids Passport, we are empowering parents to appropriately safeguard their children’s age, contact information and identity, while allowing them to tap into the extraordinary resources of the Internet. The inclusive design of Kids Passport also allows us to extend a straightforward offering to other businesses equally concerned about fostering children’s privacy online.
Protecting Children’s Online Privacy
By using Kids Passport, parents will be able to decide on a site-by-site basis whether they want to allow their child to use participating Web sites’ services that collect and/or disclose personal information from children. Participating sites either will secure parental consent or restrict Kids Passport members from using services (such as newsletters, chat rooms, bulletin boards, pen pal programs, wish lists or contests) in which children might provide personal information. Each Kids Passport is unique to the individual child, allowing parents to make consent decisions that are appropriate for each child at a certain time. Consent decisions can be updated as needed, so consent can be expanded as the child matures.
Helping Third Parties Comply with COPPA Legislation
Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nev., author of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, praised Microsoft Kids Passport, saying,
“I commend Microsoft and its software engineers for finding 21st-century solutions for 21st-century problems. The protection of kids on the Internet is paramount, and if this program can make it easier for Internet companies to protect kids, then that is a goal worth working toward.”
“Keeping the Internet safe for kids and protecting their privacy is a never-ending project for which we all – parents, kids, government and industry – share responsibility,”
said Rep. J.C. Watts, R-Okla., chairman of the House Republican Conference.
“It’s great to see the technology industry continuing to take initiative to help ensure that kids can safely play, explore and learn on this exciting medium.”
Effective Parental Consent Service for Third Parties
Kids Passport is an easy, effective and cost-effective parental consent solution that can help e-businesses ensure that their sites comply with government legislation. Using Kids Passport will allow businesses to avoid dedicating costly, time-consuming resources to developing and maintaining their own consent system. Web sites may also increase their reach to younger consumers by participating in a centralized service that expedites and simplifies the parental consent process across a network of participating sites.
“An online parental consent service will considerably help parents safeguard their child’s privacy while he or she accesses the vast resources and educational benefits of the Web,”
said Keith Cohn, vice president of marketing and sales, ToyTime.com.
“We support the development of parental consent services, like the one being developed by Microsoft Passport, that have been widely endorsed by consumer privacy advocates.”
The Kids Passport service is automatically available to Web sites that sign up to use the Microsoft Passport single sign-in service. Online businesses interested in participating in the Passport service can obtain more information at http://www.passport.com/business/ .
Other Microsoft Child Privacy Initiatives
With its new Kids Passport service, Microsoft continues its leadership role in protecting children’s privacy on the Internet. Last summer, the company launched StaySafeOnline, a pilot program that teaches children and teenagers the basic principles of online safety through an interactive CD-ROM featuring celebrity spokesman Shaquille O’Neal. The program, co-sponsored by the national Boys & Girls Clubs of America, is underway at 15 Boys & Girls Clubs across the United States, where Microsoft and O’Neal recently funded new technology centers. Microsoft is also a founding member and active participant in GetNetWise, http://www.getnetwise.org/ , a program that provides critical resources to parents and caregivers to help ensure the Internet is a safe, educational and entertaining place for young people to explore. More information on Microsoft’s child online safety initiatives is available at http://www.microsoft.com/safekids/initiatives.htm .
About the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act
In November 1998, Congress passed the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and directed the Federal Trade Commission to establish rules for its implementation. COPPA requires that operators of online services or Web sites directed at children under the age of 13 obtain parental consent prior to the collection, use, disclosure or display of a child’s personal information. The same requirements apply to general-audience sites and services, when the operator of the site or service actually knows that it is collecting, using or disclosing a child’s personal information. Information about the government’s official view on COPPA is available at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/1999/9910/childfinal.htm .
About Microsoft Passport
Microsoft Passport is a suite of e-commerce services that make using the Web and purchasing online easier, faster and more secure. Passport allows consumers to use a single sign-in name and electronic
at participating sites, reducing the amount of information they need to remember or retype. Using strong encryption and privacy policies, Passport also helps ensure the security of consumers’ personal information and online transactions.
Microsoft Passport is the first example of a megaservice available for businesses from Microsoft. Megaservices are a new breed of service that extend the Web’s capabilities by directly linking applications, services and devices with one another over the Internet. Passport provides online merchants with customizable and easy-to-implement e-commerce services that improve their customers’ experience by streamlining purchasing and simplifying sign-in across a network of Web sites and services. Consumers can get a Passport and obtain more information about the service by visiting http://www.passport.com/ ; online businesses interested in participating in the Passport service can obtain more information at http://www.passport.com/business/ .
To participate in the Passport service, companies must disclose on their sites, and abide by comprehensive, industry- recognized privacy policies.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.
Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.