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Today we are introducing a new feature designed to make sure that your app is fully COPPA compliant. With the new “enableFullPrivacy” flag, you can avoid collecting any sensitive, user-related information with the Helpshift SDK.

What is COPPA?

COPPA is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. It is a United States federal law designed to protect the privacy of children under the age of 13. Among other rules, COPPA requires websites to receive parental consent prior to collecting personal information from their users in certain circumstances. Personal information is defined as any information that allows someone to identify or contact a child such as home address, email address, or telephone number. Click here for more info about COPPA.

How does COPPA affect your app or game?

If you’re building an app or game that reaches children under the age of 13, you want to make sure that you are fully COPPA compliant. Violating COPPA can result in heavy fines from the Federal Trade Commission. For many companies, the easiest way to become COPPA compliant is to avoid collecting personal information from these users in the first place. This is exactly what Helpshift’s new “enableFullPrivacy” flag helps to enable you to do.

How does Helpshift Assist Your COPPA Compliance Efforts?

In the latest Helpshift SDK, you will find a new flag called “enableFullPrivacy”. Turning on this flag will perform 3 actions:

1. Disable user-initiated screenshots – users cannot send images without being prompted by an Agent.

2. Prevents your Helpshift Dashboard from collecting any of the following personal information:

  • Mobile carrier name/code
  • Country code
  • Custom meta-data that is labeled “private data” (If you have any personally identifiable information contained in meta-data, please make sure you add it to the “private-data” dictionary in the metadata. This information will not be passed through if full-privacy mode is enabled.)

3. Disables email and name collection while a user is submitting a new Issue. (Please note: This is applicable for SDK v6.1.0 and above.)

Best Practices

One way to use “enableFullPrivacy” is by first collecting your users’ age in your app’s signup flow. If your user is under the age of 13, you can set the “enableFullPrivacy” flag in any of the Helpshift API configuration options. We will make sure to persist this setting until it is again changed explicitly.

Get started today by downloading the latest Helpshift SDKs.

We’d love to hear your thoughts! Have any questions? Feel free to comment on this post or email us directly at success@helpshift.com.

The materials available on this page are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular question or issue you may have.

Published October 7, 2014
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