Operators of Web-based Services Now Have a Heightened Burden When Marketing to Minors

Under current law, an operator of a commercial Web site, online service, online application, or mobile applications that knows its service is being used by or directed to minors is required to: (1) make its privacy policy available to consumers; (2) notify consumers of the personal information it is collecting from them; (3) disclose the purpose for which collected information will be used; and (4) give parents of minors the opportunity to opt out of the operator’s further collection of information from the minor.

Senate Bill 568, discussed in our post on August 4, 2014 (see post here), imposes additional responsibilities on operators.  Starting January 1, 2015, operators are prohibited from marketing or advertising these products or services to a minor:

    • Alcoholic beverages
    • Firearms or handguns
    • Ammunition or reloaded ammunition
    • Handgun safety certificates
    • Aerosol container of paint that is capable of defacing property
    • Etching cream that is capable of defacing property
    • Any tobacco product, including cigarettes; cigarette papers; blunt wraps or e-cigarettes
    • BB device
    • Dangerous fireworks
    • Tanning in an ultraviolet tanning device
    • Specified dietary supplement products
    • Tickets or shares in in a lottery game
    • Any substance or material containing Salvia divinorum or Salvinorin A
    • Body branding
    • Permanent tattoo
    • Drug paraphernalia
    • Obscene matter
    • Other weapons

Operators are also prohibited from knowingly using, disclosing, compiling or allowing a third party to use, disclose, or compile the personal information of a minor for the purpose of marketing or advertising the above products or services to a minor.

These prohibitions also apply to advertising services that are notified by an operator that the service is directed to minors.

Many companies subsidize web hosting through advertisements provided by third parties. These companies (“operators” subject to the law) are responsible for the content of advertising if they know it violates these provisions. School administrators who purchase web-based services to incorporate in curriculum should ensure the services comply with these marketing requirements.

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