Casual Developer Fined For Violating Child Privacy Laws

Casual Developer Fined For Violating Child Privacy Laws

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What's the cost of violating a bunch of kids' privacy? Probably less than you'd expect.

It's never a good thing when the Federal Trade Commission here in the United States decides to take a good, long look at you and your product. This is a lesson that App developer Broken Thumbs has just learned, as it has been slapped with a substantial fine by the FTC for violating - wait for it - child privacy laws. Oops.

The company that created the popular Emily's Girl World series (the screenshot here is from Emily's Fashion & Shop) has settled with the FTC for the sum of $50,000 after it collected "tens of thousands" of email addresses from kids younger than thirteen without informing their parents.

Chairman Jon Leibovitz of the FTC explained why this is a problem:

"The FTC's COPPA Rule requires parental notice and consent before collecting children's personal information online, whether through a website or a mobile app. Companies must give parents the opportunity to make smart choices when it comes to their children's sharing of information on smartphones."

Apparently Broken Thumbs also allowed underage users to share "personal information" on message boards, which also violates the COPPA Rule. According to the FTC, Broken Thumbs is going to delete all this personal data and "will not be allowed to violate the rule again," though specifics are a little fuzzy about what'll happen to them if they do.

Honestly, this figure seems pretty low, especially when one stops and thinks about how much money Broken Thumbs has probably made off of its illicit activities.

Source: GamesIndustry.biz

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The criminal activity here is letting kids spawn thousands of virtual Lady Gagas in their phones.

Wow, this company really needs a new legal expert, that kinda stuff is basic.

Children under 13 have smartphones? Are you serious?

When I was 13 I wrestled to avoid getting a cllular phone.

Damn.

wait, what are kids of 13 and younger doing with smartphones in the first place?

To be fair to kids under 13, when I (and I'm sure a lot of you) were under that age I knew not to give personal details to anything shady. It's the internet version of the whole "don't accept sweets from strangers" thing.

I mean it's good to you know:

But I think there is a point where the nanny state the world is turning into should actually give the kids a bit of credit.

What the fuck is that thing in the picture 0.o

Okay anyways, This should of been easily avoided. If their aiming at a user base of kids then they really should understand that parent consent is needed. That's just common knowledge.

Raiyan 1.0:
The criminal activity here is letting kids spawn thousands of virtual Lady Gagas in their phones.

Well, with touch sensitive screen they can poke-her face.

;)

Honestly, this figure seems pretty low, especially when one stops and thinks about how much money Broken Thumbs has probably made off of its illicit activities.

What illicit activities would those be? The writeup doesn't mention any of them. They just got dinged for COLLECTING the email addresses, which could be something as benign as forgetting to turn off that requirement in the forum software. Unless they sold the email to viagra spammers, I doubt they made any money off of it.

Crappy, sensationalist writeup much?

Yeah I don't get kids having mobile phones at all...let alone using them at that age =/

Just make a law that no-one under 16 gets a cell phone less than 5 years old, and case solved, there's no playground 'na na you can't afford an iphone' and there's still the ability to call parents or call 911 if needed. (I believe that's the main reason most kids get one, the whole 'stranger danger' thing, as tho most child murderers and rapists will let the kid carry on calling their friends and family while trussed up in the trunk of a pickup truck.)

TheIronRuler:
Children under 13 have smartphones? Are you serious?

When I was 13 I wrestled to avoid getting a cllular phone.

Damn.

I've seen five year olds with phones. Which is in the age region doctors say you really shouldn't be giving phones because they still don't really know the effects.

50k only?
Well damn I'm off to work on iPedophile app, listing all underaged children in your area at the very reasonable price of 9.99$, order now!

The_root_of_all_evil:

Raiyan 1.0:
The criminal activity here is letting kids spawn thousands of virtual Lady Gagas in their phones.

Well, with touch sensitive screen they can poke-her face.

;)

You're a terrible person. :)

Raiyan 1.0:

The_root_of_all_evil:

Raiyan 1.0:
The criminal activity here is letting kids spawn thousands of virtual Lady Gagas in their phones.

Well, with touch sensitive screen they can poke-her face.

;)

You're a terrible person. :)

The clue is in the name :)

How dare they! I mean, I totally didn't have fake emails to give out, and the ability to lie about my age to get one internet por- I mean forums.

vehystrix:
wait, what are kids of 13 and younger doing with smartphones in the first place?

The absolute same thing everyone alse is doing.

What the fuck kind of kid under thirteen has a smartphone!? What the hell are they going to use a fucking phone for!?

Mezmer:
What the fuck kind of kid under thirteen has a smartphone!? What the hell are they going to use a fucking phone for!?

This seems to be the general reaction to a lot of people here. Parents. Parents are the reason. Kids bitch and complain that they want one. "OMG MOM ELIZABETH HAS ONE, WHY CAN'T I GET ONE. YOU HATE ME!" Something like that plays out in my mind, and smartphones are starting to become the common phone now. When most phones being released to the market are smartphones, you would expect children to have them.

OT: I don't really think that this was anything more than a oversight on the companies legal department or whatever. Fucking around with child privacy laws isn't something that you would want to really do. They probably just forget to add the "guardian" clauses to the EULA and shit.

I'm rounding 20 an I still can't afford a phone.

 

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