Tuesday, January 1, 2013

GOARCH - USCCB cosign support of online child protections

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 28, 2012 (Zenit.org) - The U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Department of Communications and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America issued the following statement in support of the Federal Trade Commission's revisions to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) that were announced on December 20. Why, with years of SCOBA and now the episcopal assembly, are we still making ecumenical declarations along jurisdictional lines? Orthodoxy gets the most worldwide attention when it acts in concert with other large religious bodies. Would it not have been a visible and strong sign of Orthodox unity if the Assembly of Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical Relations (on which four juridictions are represented) had been the Orthodox "side" of the statement?

"We applaud the Federal Trade Commission and Chairman Jon Leibowitz for these important steps to keep children safe in the ever-evolving digital world," said Helen Osman, Secretary of Communications for the USCCB. "The Commission is to be especially commended for setting guidelines for website operators regarding the release of children's personal information to companies and for reasonable procedures for data retention and deletion."

COPPA was passed by Congress in 1998 and is designed to enable parents to decide how and whether Internet companies and operators can collect and use personal information from children under the age of 13.

"These revisions are greatly needed by the parents and families in our parishes who continue to express to us their concerns about keeping their children safe online," said Father Mark Arey, Ecumenical Officer of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America."In particular, they often speak about their concern about collection of their children's personal information (such as photos, videos and geolocation information) and so we are pleased that the new COPPA rules address this."

The USCCB and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America represent over 77 million people in the United States and are committed to a safe Internet environment, especially for children. In the spring of 2013 the USCCB Committee on Communications and the Greek Orthodox Church of America will release an online Digital Safety Guide for parents and faith communities.


  1. I'm willing to bet that the USCCB went to the Greeks thinking they speak for all Orthodox in this country out of ignorance of the current political and canonical issues of the Orthodox at the moment. Having said that, it would have been appropriate for the GOA to tell the USCCB they would take it to the entire church for consideration instead of signing without the rest of the church in order not to loose face with the USCCB.

  2. On the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishop's Committee for Church and Society web site under News and Events there are "No documents found."

    Maybe the Catholics went to the GOA because they thought there would be a better chance of getting a response from them.

    And doesn't the GOA have more Orthodox in the U.S. than all the other jurisdictions combined? So... while they don't "technically" speak for all Orthodox on the U.S., they do represent more than any other Orthodox Church here.