It's no secret that children and teenagers are early adopters of technology, and the Commission is focused on using enforcement, education, and engagement to safeguard them from unfair and deceptive marketing and advertising.
Recent FTC enforcement of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) resulted in strong settlement orders against Playdom, a company operating online virtual world websites for kids; W3 Innovations, a developer of mobile applications, including children's games; and Skid-e-kids, a social networking site targeting children ages 7 to 14. The settlement against Playdom included a $3 million civil penalty, the highest to date for violations of the FTC's COPPA Rule. The Commission is considering proposed amendments that are intended to ensure that the COPPA Rule continues to protect children's privacy as online technology evolves.
On the theory that the users of mobile devices are getting younger, FTC staff surveyed information available to parents before downloading mobile apps for their children in Google's Android Market and Apple's iTunes App Store. The survey found that the stores didn't offer parents any information on the kind of data collected, who is collecting it, and why. The staff recommends that industry members provide greater transparency about their data collection practices.
Other recent activities related to kids dealt with entertainment ratings for movies, electronic games and music, and child identity theft. A workshop co-hosted by the FTC and the DOJ Office for Victims of Crime addressed how best to prevent child identity theft and resolve the problems that it creates.
- Playdom: Operators of Online "Virtual Worlds" to Pay $3 Million to Settle FTC Charges That They Illegally Collected and Disclosed Children's Personal Information
- W3 Innovations: Mobile Apps Developer Settles FTC Charges It Violated Children's Privacy Rule
- Skid-e-kids: Operator of Social Networking Website for Kids Settles FTC Charges Site Collected Kids' Personal Information Without Parental Consent
- Twitter Chat: After announcing proposed changes to COPPA, FTC staff participated in a Twitter chat co-hosted by EPIC to discussCOPPA changes
- Live Tweeted: #childIDT tweets from the FTC's child identity theft workshop
- Consumer Education: Protecting Your Child's Personal Information at School
- Consumer Education: Partnered with DHS to increase use of the FTC's Toolkit: Net Cetera: Chatting with Kids About Being Online