iOS Developer Pays $50k FTC Fine

August 15, 2011 -

The iOS app maker responsible for games such as Zombie Duck Hunt, Truth or Dare, and Emily's Dress Up today settled with the Federal Trade Commission for collecting children's personal data in its iPhone and iPod touch apps. Broken Thumbs Apps and its parent company W3 Innovations were targeted by an FTC lawsuit on Friday. Today the company announced a settlement.

The FTC alleged in its complaint that W3 "collected, maintained, and/or disclosed personal information" entered into its kid apps such as emails and other private information. This included a list of more than 30,000 e-mails as well as personal information from more than 300 Emily's Girl World App users and 290 Emily's Dress Up users. Some of W3's apps asked children to enter names before beginning the game or leave comments on a blog related to the app, details of which are saved to W3's archives.

The FTC further alleges that these apps were clearly marketed to children and that the company has seen more than 50,000 app downloads since it first began offering games on the iPhone and iPod touch. Because these apps send and receive information via the Internet, the FTC said that they were in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the FTC's COPPA Rule, which requires parents to give consent before the company collects or uses the personal information of children. With W3/Broken Thumbs, parents were not aware that their kids' details were being collected and used for marketing purposes.

The company quickly acquiesced to the complaint and has paid a $50,000 fine. It also agreed to delete all personal information that was collected in violation of the COPPA Rules and claims that it won't make any future Rule violations.

US Representative Ed Markey (D-MA) applauded the FTC's decision to pursue W3:

"Since COPPA was signed into law in 1998, children increasingly connect to the Internet on the go, using an array of mobile apps and new services that did not exist when the law was enacted," Markey said in a statement. "Earlier this year, I introduced the ‘Do Not Track Kids Act’ with Congressman Joe Barton to bring COPPA up to date and add additional safeguards for teens. I look forward to working with my colleagues to move forward our bipartisan bill so that we can provide strong protections for children and teens, enabling them to learn, communicate and enjoy entertainment in a safe online environment."

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), agreed with Markey:

"This settlement is an important victory for online and mobile privacy. Mobile apps can be great tools for kids to learn and have fun, but parents should never have to worry that their child’s personal information is being collected or violated. I will continue to make sure we have clear rules of the road that allow consumers to have more control over their online and mobile information," she said in a statement.

Source: Ars Technica

Posted in

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Poll

Will Target Australia sell the next GTA game upon its release?:

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Andrew EisenGoth - And the blame for that rests solely on the ding bats who grossly overreacted to a handful of opinion pieces.07/31/2015 - 3:11pm
Andrew EisenHere's a fun fact: Only two of the authors of the "Gamers Are Dead" articles (of which there are about 12) were on the Game Journo Pros list.07/31/2015 - 3:10pm
Goth_SkunkNo! No! Of course not! Nothing wrong with that at all! Nevermind that those articles spawned a huge, almost year-long consumer revolt and culture war that no one in the industry can deny exists. :^)07/31/2015 - 3:10pm
Andrew EisenThere's also nothing wrong with publishing an opinion you know is going to be unpopular with some. So long as it's genuine, anyway.07/31/2015 - 3:08pm
Andrew EisenEh, could be laziness, lack of imagination, bandwagon hopping or maybe Alexander's article inspired them to publish their own takes. Nothing wrong with that.07/31/2015 - 3:06pm
Goth_SkunkIf laziness was indeed the reason other sites produced articles of a similar vein, the laziness must reach levels that would make a cat blush. How lazy does one have to be unable to stop and think "maybe this isn't a good idea...'07/31/2015 - 3:04pm
Andrew EisenThe Mary Sue article title I'm a bit more comfortable being called clickbait as it's a deliberate misdirection but it's done for humor's sake so I personally give such things a pass.07/31/2015 - 3:01pm
Andrew EisenI count six similar titles and two of the authors aren't even journalists, let alone game journalists. It doesn't reek of collusion, it reeks of laziness, if anything. A few others saw Alexander's piece and wrote their own.07/31/2015 - 3:00pm
Goth_Skunkfeed. Additionally, I'm baffled by the irony of someone named 'Infophile' taking a Mary Sue article seriously. Ignoring that I won't give that site a second of my time, that article headline is blatant clickbait and should be ignored on principle.07/31/2015 - 2:58pm
Goth_SkunkI agree with Benohawk: The title of the article meant that the article was worth ignoring. Alas, when 9 additional sites pop up with similarly titled articles of their own, it reeks of collusion and an attempt by the press at large to bite the hands that07/31/2015 - 2:56pm
Andrew EisenAh, okay.07/31/2015 - 2:46pm
benohawkI'm saying that the refrence in the article to the old title would need to be changed well the primary point of the article would be kept the same. Not something that should be an issue if the objective wasn't to be provocative.07/31/2015 - 2:41pm
Andrew EisenYou're saying the article should be altered to fit a different title. I want to know what title you find more appropriate for the copy as is.07/31/2015 - 2:34pm
benohawkIt would take a minor rewrite to the article, but I'd call it 'What is a Gamer' but go for the same point. you don't have to sell to jerks07/31/2015 - 2:33pm
Andrew EisenI still say "clickbait" is thrown around way too casually, to the point where it's completely meaningless. That aside, what alternate title would you suggest?07/31/2015 - 2:22pm
benohawkt was still delibrate clickait, something I would expect from a Gawker outlet, the article would of likely been much better recieved with a nicer title07/31/2015 - 2:18pm
Andrew EisenProvocative title to be sure but I didn't find it inaccurate or not reflective of its text.07/31/2015 - 2:12pm
benohawkGamasutra shouldn't of gotten clicks for the article until they had published under an accurate name instead of some pathetic clickbaiting07/31/2015 - 2:09pm
benohawkThe title of the article meant that the article was worth ignoring, not launching a massive campaign to try and end the site it was on.07/31/2015 - 2:08pm
Andrew EisenI will Ouija him my unceasing indignation!07/31/2015 - 1:59pm
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician