Whether your six year old has hijacked your iPad again to rediscover the inexplicable joy of flinging birds with a finger activated slingshot or to harness her mighty math powers in the origami-paved streets of Umi City, children are tapping into the spring of entertainment and educational value offered by the mobile applications marketplace. Yet, according to a study issued last week by the Federal Trade Commission “Mobile Apps for Kids: Current Privacy Disclosures are DisAPPointing”, the lack of privacy disclosures in these apps may hint at deeper laden privacy pitfalls which members of the kids app ecosystem may soon have to remedy.
The Federal Trade Commission recently announced its settlement with the operator of www.skidekids.com concerning allegations that the operator violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule (“COPPA Rule”) by collecting personal information about children without obtaining parental consent. For Skid-e-kids, the FTC’s settlement means taking remedial measures; an injunction; and a $100,000 civil penalty. For the rest of us, the settlement is a good reminder that the FTC is staunchly committed to protecting children’s privacy. So when it comes to collecting personal information from children online, it’s important to do it right . . . or not at all.
Playdom, Inc., an online game company owned by Disney, and Playdom’s CEO, Howard Marks, agreed to pay $3 million to settle charges brought by the FTC that they violated COPPA by collecting, using and disclosing the personal information of children under the age of 13 without their parents’ prior, verifiable consent. The $3 million settlement is the largest civil penalty ever for a COPPA violation.
Earlier today, the FTC announced its latest COPPA enforcement action (http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/iconix.shtm). Iconix Brand Group, Inc., the operator of websites featuring its apparel brands, was fined $250,000 for collecting personal information from children without complying with COPPA’s parental consent rubric. The FTC cited the websites associated with the brands Mudd, Candie’s, Bongo and OP, which are… Continue Reading
On Wednesday, August 26, 2009, a lawsuit was filed in federal court in Maine to enjoin Maine’s new predatory marketing to minors law, which was previously discussed on our blog. If not enjoined, this problematic law is scheduled to go into effect on September 12, 2009. The complaint, filed on behalf of offline and online entities,… Continue Reading
In December 2007, Texas became the first state to file COPPA enforcement actions, by separately suing the entities behind Gamesradar.com and TheDollPalace.com in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. The complaints are available as an attachment to the press release on the Texas Attorney General’s website. The defendants in those cases are California and New York – and not Texas – entities.
The Federal Trade Commission has quietly changed its position on the level of parental consent required under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) for e-cards sent from a website directed to children.
Yesterday, attorneys general from 49 states (all but California’s) and the District of Columbia announced a sweeping agreement with MySpace under which the company will adopt new measures to protect children online.
Kids like social networking sites, most notably MySpace and Facebook. So it is not surpising that law enforcement is scrutinizing how the sites protect children. Recent subpoenas issued to Facebook by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram are illustrative. Both subpoenas sought information about Facebook’s Internet safety and security policies. The… Continue Reading