The Center for Industry Self-Regulation (CISR) Logo

To Help U.S. Companies Responsibly Collect and Manage Teenager Data, Center for Industry Self-Regulation Publishes TeenAge Privacy Program Roadmap

For Immediate Release
Contact: Abby Hills, Director of Communications, BBB National Programs
703.247.9330 / press@bbbnp.org

McLean, VA – April 19, 2022 – BBB National Programs’ Center for Industry Self-Regulation today announced the launch of the TeenAge Privacy Program (TAPP) Roadmap, a new operational framework designed to help companies develop digital products and services that consider and respond to the heightened potential of risks and harms to teenage consumers, and to ensure that businesses collect and manage teen data responsibly.

Punctuated by last month’s 2022 State of the Union address, lawmakers and regulators in Washington, D.C. and state capitals are demonstrating a keen focus on the dynamic data privacy space – the data that companies, advertisers, and app developers collect, use, and share – yet with little to no guidance specific to the teen audience, a complex landscape bridging both “child-directed” and “adult” platforms and content.

This high degree of interest, coupled with the lack of guidance, led BBB National Programs, through its new foundation, the Center for Industry Self-Regulation, to set out to navigate the maze of teen data privacy issues. Convenings with business leaders representing consumer goods, children’s marketing, and wireless and media technology companies over the last year resulted in the development of the framework.

“Even as data privacy and safety practices that work for adult consumers provide a firm foundation for teens, they simultaneously run the risk of being insufficient to respond to the unique needs of teens,” said Dona Fraser, Senior Vice President, Privacy Initiatives, BBB National Programs, who spearheaded the development of the framework. “Privacy and other harms that affect adults may be more impactful to teenagers, while additional harms may be unique to this demographic.”

To assist any businesses that wish to engage proactively with teen consumers, the new TAPP Roadmap framework endeavors to map the broad spectrum of potential harms impacting teens onto a concrete set of operational considerations.

Added Fraser: “A dedicated process for considering the unique needs of certain consumer groups, such as teenagers, is an important step in any design and development cycle. An organization of any size can use this framework as a roadmap of considerations to help address the privacy, autonomy, and safety of teens.”

As BBB National Programs’ October 2020 study Risky Business: The Current State of Teen Privacy in the Android App Marketplace demonstrated, teenagers are major participants in today’s digital environment and often engage with websites, apps, games, and other digital media unaware of the hidden ecosystem that drives them.

This study, which focused on mobile app usage, found that teen-directed apps are more likely to engage in ad serving, include more third-party trackers, ask for more permissions, and offer more in-app purchases than apps developed for a general user audience, greatly increasing their attack surface for privacy risks.

“Given the findings of the Risky Business study and the potential rigidity of future legislative solutions, it is incumbent on industry now to exercise responsibility and show accountability by designing and developing products and services that consider the intermediate space teens occupy between childhood and adulthood,” said Fraser. “The TAPP Roadmap provides a framework for businesses to immediately start taking steps towards that goal.”

View the Roadmap here. Learn more about TAPP here.

 

###

 

About TAPP: The TeenAge Privacy Program (TAPP) is an emerging initiative of the Center for Industry Self-Regulation (CISR), the BBB National Programs 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation. TAPP was designed to help develop resources and strategies to help companies responsibly collect and manage data from teenagers. TAPP aims to solve the guidance gap that exists for the teen audience by ensuring companies engaging teens in an online environment are collecting data in a responsible manner and that their data privacy and security practices comply with applicable laws.

About CISR: The Center for Industry Self-Regulation (CISR), BBB National Programs’ 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation, was created to harness the power of independent, industry self-regulation to empower U.S. business accountability. CISR is dedicated to education and research that supports responsible business leaders developing fair, future-proof best practices, and to the education of the general public on the conditions necessary for industry self-regulation.