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  Post #1 (permalink)   03-14-2007, 02:23 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 203

Status: bandboy is offline
I am not from US, so obviously little ignorant about rules and laws here.

I have a tricky situation and need assistance.

One of my site offers free services but considering the nature of service and potential of abuse, we do not let children less than 13yrs use the service. I understand it is COPPA in US which needs to be implemented.

Now, recently some kid enrolled into site claiming himself to be 14 and later he confesses in some forum thread that he is 12. What do i do here?

1) Do i terminate his account because he claims in forum thread that he is 12?
2) Do i let him continue because he agreed to TOS and also confirmed while signing up that he is older and also informatino provided is true?


3) If i terminate his acc., do i ask him to get acc. created through his parents?
4) If acc. is created through his parents, will they be responsible for anything he does on site or through site? I mean if he involves in any illegal activity, who holds responsibility? As a provider it may not be possible to monitor each activity, but if a notice is sent to us, whom do we fix responsibility on?
5) How to deal with such situations?

Thanks
 
 
 


Old
  Post #2 (permalink)   03-14-2007, 09:46 AM
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Don't worry, It doesn't matter your not going to get the FBI at your door because you have a 12 year old who is your customer, unless your TOS states a certain age.

Otherwise don't worry about it.
 
 
 


Old
  Post #3 (permalink)   03-14-2007, 01:41 PM
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I'm not sure how to answer that one.

Whatever you do for this situation, though, record all the steps. That way you'll know what to do if/when this happens again.

If it were me, I would contact the person say that because of a certain revelation on your forums, you need to take extra steps to protect yourself and your users. I would then ask them to fax me legal proof of their age (driver's license, passport, or birth certificate). If they were indeed under the age of 13, I would terminate their account and not refund any monies (that last part depends on your own TOS and the laws of your locality. Consumers in some states are guaranteed refunds of any prepaid unused product or service, regardless of any contracts signed with providers.) If their legal proof showed them as being over the age of 13, I'd file it. If this person, or this person's parents, then tried to sue me and / or my company because they were underage and got into trouble, and it was therefore somehow my fault, I'd pull out that legal proof of age.

But that's just what I would do, based on what (admittedly) little I know of the situation. As always, IANAL...
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Old
  Post #4 (permalink)   03-15-2007, 01:08 AM
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Thats some interesting info. Lesli

Quote:
4) If acc. is created through his parents, will they be responsible for anything he does on site or through site? I mean if he involves in any illegal activity, who holds responsibility? As a provider it may not be possible to monitor each activity, but if a notice is sent to us, whom do we fix responsibility on?
I mean they can always walk away claiming that they were under-age and parents claim that they were unaware of their child's activities, so does responsibility fall back upon me?
 
 
 


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  Post #5 (permalink)   03-15-2007, 07:28 AM
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Hello. If you know how old is he better refuse of working with them. I think that you shouldn't worry in this case.
 
 
 


Old
  Post #6 (permalink)   03-15-2007, 12:16 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: B.C, Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bandboy
I am not from US, so obviously little ignorant about rules and laws here.

I have a tricky situation and need assistance.

One of my site offers free services but considering the nature of service and potential of abuse, we do not let children less than 13yrs use the service. I understand it is COPPA in US which needs to be implemented.

Now, recently some kid enrolled into site claiming himself to be 14 and later he confesses in some forum thread that he is 12. What do i do here?

1) Do i terminate his account because he claims in forum thread that he is 12?
2) Do i let him continue because he agreed to TOS and also confirmed while signing up that he is older and also informatino provided is true?


3) If i terminate his acc., do i ask him to get acc. created through his parents?
4) If acc. is created through his parents, will they be responsible for anything he does on site or through site? I mean if he involves in any illegal activity, who holds responsibility? As a provider it may not be possible to monitor each activity, but if a notice is sent to us, whom do we fix responsibility on?
5) How to deal with such situations?

Thanks
I like your #3 option. I ran into this type of issue before. I basically told the under aged kid to have their parent contact me. Once the parent called me, I told them about the TOS and how I didn't want to get myself or their child in any sort of trouble. The Father was pretty happy, that I would go through all this trouble to make sure nothing bad happens. So the father used his information, since he is legal of age and that solved my issue.
 
 
 


Old
  Post #7 (permalink)   03-15-2007, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bandboy
I mean they can always walk away claiming that they were under-age and parents claim that they were unaware of their child's activities, so does responsibility fall back upon me?
That's why I'd ask for, and keep, a recognized legal proof of age document (such as a driver's license, passport, or birth certificate.) It lets me see that they have these documents, that they have proof of these documents, and gives me paper to cover my backside in case they try something hinky.

If you've done everything reasonable within your power to ascertain proof of legal age once doubt was cast on your previous proof (the person signing up with your service and agreeing with your TOS), then you should be safe, and more importantly, your community should be safe. Granted, there will always be a risk that someone somewhere will pull some obscure legal clause out of their backside (or their lawyers') and try and make you the fall guy; or some parents who are either non-attentive or just have a very, very clever kid (or other variations). But if you've gotten proof of legal age, and you requested this proof soon after seeing someone claim that they were *not* actually of age, you've done everything you can to protect everyone involved.

If the parents claim they were unaware of the child's activities, but you made a good faith effort to legally establish age, what else can you do? You could put a policy in place that, say, if someone publicly posts that they're underage several times, then despite legal proof of age you can delete their account and not refund any monies, based on their casting unreasonable doubt on your community's security. Check with a lawyer before you try that, though - while it does look like it neatly shields you from COPPA indemnity, it might get you into other forms of hot water.

You seem to have a LOT of pretty good legal questions. While you're getting some good advice, you're also getting advice from people who aren't legal professionals and who might not be familiar with the laws of your area. I recommend that you make a list, gather all information you've received, and make one consultation-appointment with a lawyer. It might be costly; but you'll get a whole bunch of questions answered in one go. Prepare well, and you'll definitely get your money's worth. Knowledge is power.
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Linux and Windows Shared Hosting since 2002: Scribehost
 
 
 


Old
  Post #8 (permalink)   03-15-2007, 06:15 PM
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Status: Mabus is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal813
I like your #3 option. I ran into this type of issue before. I basically told the under aged kid to have their parent contact me. Once the parent called me, I told them about the TOS and how I didn't want to get myself or their child in any sort of trouble. The Father was pretty happy, that I would go through all this trouble to make sure nothing bad happens. So the father used his information, since he is legal of age and that solved my issue.

This was actually what I was going recommend after reading your post and before reading Cal813's. The best thing to do would be to send a notice to that child to have the parent or guardian contact you with in x amount of days- 7 days for example and if they do not contact you with in that amount of time you will have to terminate the account. Let the child know that contacting you by e-mail will not do, that can be easily spoofed and children are smarter with computers at younger ages these days. This should solve your problem. Always make sure to document all steps and precautions you have taken to prevent a situation also, if it has the potential to lead into one. You should be fine though.
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Old
  Post #9 (permalink)   03-15-2007, 06:43 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lesli
You seem to have a LOT of pretty good legal questions. While you're getting some good advice, you're also getting advice from people who aren't legal professionals and who might not be familiar with the laws of your area. I recommend that you make a list, gather all information you've received, and make one consultation-appointment with a lawyer. It might be costly; but you'll get a whole bunch of questions answered in one go. Prepare well, and you'll definitely get your money's worth. Knowledge is power.
Thanks Lesli,
That is exactly what i am doing. I am taking summary notes and once i have sufficient doubts and their solutions ready, i'll fix up an appointment with the lawyer and let his assert and help on these.

Thanks everyone for their time and share of experience.
 
 
 


Old
  Post #10 (permalink)   11-12-2007, 06:15 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2007
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I would close account. Giving wrong age is fraud and illegal.
 
 
 
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