Release Date: October 2, 2001
Lisa Frank, Inc., manufacturer of popular girls’ toys and school supplies, and operator of a Web site featuring those products, will pay $30,000 in civil penalties to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA Rule) and the FTC Act. The settlement also bars the company from certain future violations of the law. This is the fourth law enforcement action the FTC has taken to enforce the COPPA Rule since it became effective in April, 2000.
The COPPA Rule applies to operators of commercial Web sites and online services directed to children under the age of 13, and to general audience Web sites and online services that knowingly collect personal information from children. Among other things, the Rule requires that Web sites get verifiable consent from a parent or guardian before they collect personal information from children.
This case was brought to the FTC’s attention by the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. CARU evaluated the Lisa Frank Web site in late 2000, after the COPPA Rule became effective. According to CARU’s press release announcing referral of the matter to the FTC, Lisa Frank, Inc. committed serious violations of the COPPA Rule and, despite CARU’s urging, failed to make the changes needed to bring the Lisa Frank Web site into compliance with the Rule.
The Commission vote to approve the complaint and consent settlement was 5-0.
The proposed consent decree was filed on October 1, 2001 by the Department of Justice at the request of the FTC. It is subject to court approval.
NOTE: This consent decree is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendant of a law violation. Consent decrees have the force of law when signed by the judge.
Copies of the complaint and consent settlement are available from the FTC’s web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. For further information about the COPPA Rule, see http://www.ftc.gov/kidzprivacy . The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov . The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
(FTC File No. 012-3050)
(Civil Action No. 01-1516-A)