CARU Recommends Links Snacks Modify Website to Better Protect Children’s Privacy

New York, NY – June 28, 2013 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit has recommended Link Snacks, Inc., operator of the website, www.jacklinks.com, modify the site to better protect children’s privacy.

CARU is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

The website came to the attention of CARU through its routine monitoring practices. CARU monitors websites for compliance with CARU’s Self-Regulatory Program for Children’s Advertising, including guidelines on Online Privacy Protection, as well as with the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

An advertisement for the website appeared in Baseball Youth Magazine, inviting people to play the game “Sasquatch Swing Big Stick,” on Jacklinks.com. The website is intended for those who want to learn more about Jack Link’s beef jerky. The website also includes commercials, product information, and information about different events sponsored by Jack Link’s.

Visitors to the homepage are invited to join the “Jack Pack,” and initially must enter their email. They are then directed to a registration page. There, they must enter a first name, last name, email address, and answer a series of questions such as “What’s your dream job,” which they respond to via drop down menus.

CARU questioned whether the website complies with its guidelines. Specifically, CARU is concerned that the operator had a reasonable expectation that children under 13 would be visiting the website and did not implement a neutral age screening mechanism prior to the collection of personally identifiable information.

The operator agreed to implement a neutral age-screening process, along with a session cookie so that children under 13 cannot change their birthdate when they are unable to register. CARU was pleased that the operator made these changes to bring the website into compliance with the guidelines.