Saturday, October 22, 2016

COPAA Compliance Extortion

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This morning, one of my children brought me their tablet.  It's a Nabi 2s, which we bought 3 of a while back at Toys R Us during a sale.  The tablet was in "Nabi Mode" which is a locked down account for children.  Unfortunately, there is a small selection of games available in Nabi Mode.  The most important app on the tablet, Youtube, is also not available.  So we just leave it in "Mommy Mode," a separate user account without any of the child lock-down, because I'm not dealing with managing an allowed applications list on 3 different tablets, if such a feature is even available.

So the problem today is Nabi's strange enforcement of COPAA Compliance.  For those who don't know, COPAA, or The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, is a 2008 regulation to protect children online.  The act requires proof of parental concent for a child to use any service online.   According to the verbage of a 2012 amendment, verifiable parental consent can be, but not limited to: "electronic scans of signed parental consent forms; video-conferencing; use of government-issued identification; and alternative payment systems, such as debit cards and electronic payment systems, provided they meet certain criteria."

When I attempted to put the tablet back into "Mommy Mode" today, I was greeted by this scare tactic.  Still half asleep, it was a bit concerning.  If this doesn't look like ransomware, I don't know what does.



In order to get out of Nabi Mode, I have to engage in their choice of a verifiable parental consent, immediately.  50 cents isn't a lot, even across all three tablets we have, but what are they doing with the money?  Microsoft donates it to National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  Nabi doesn't have the information easily available.  I don't care to spend any more time looking, so I don't know.  And why today?

The quick solution for today was to just reboot the tablet, and it came back up in "Mommy Mode."   I get why they're doing it, but the way they chose to do this, on a completely random Sunday morning months after I bought the tablet left a really bad taste in my mouth.  So I'm choosing to not participate.  If Nabi's insistence becomes a problem, I'll just root the tablet.
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