On December 4, 2018, the New York Attorney General (“NY AG”) announced that Oath Inc., which was known as AOL Inc. (“AOL”) until June 2017 and is a subsidiary of Verizon Communications Inc., agreed to pay New York a $4.95 million civil penalty following allegations that it had violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) by collecting and disclosing children’s personal information in conducting online auctions for advertising placement. This is the largest-ever COPPA penalty.
On August 13, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission approved changes to the video game industry’s safe harbor guidelines under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) Rule. COPPA’s “safe harbor” provision enables industry groups to propose self-regulatory guidelines regarding COPPA compliance for FTC approval. Continue Reading FTC Approves Changes to Video Game Industry’s Safe Harbor Program Under COPPA
On August 3, 2018, California-based Unixiz Inc. (“Unixiz”) agreed to shut down its “i-Dressup” website pursuant to a consent order with the New Jersey Attorney General, which the company entered into to settle charges that it violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) and the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. The consent order also requires Unixiz to pay a civil penalty of $98,618. Continue Reading Unixiz Agrees to Settle Charges Under COPPA and the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act
Recently, Iowa and Nebraska enacted information security laws applicable to personal information. Iowa’s law applies to operators of online services directed at and used by students in kindergarten through grade 12, whereas Nebraska’s law applies to all commercial entities doing business in Nebraska who own or license Nebraska residents’ personal information. Continue Reading Iowa and Nebraska Enact Information Security Laws
On May 31, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission published on its Business Blog a post addressing the easily missed data deletion requirement under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”). Continue Reading FTC Posts Blog on Data Deletion Rule under COPPA
On May 16, 2018, the Irish Data Protection Bill 2018 (the “Bill”) entered the final committee stage in Dáil Éireann (the lower house and principal chamber of the Irish legislature). The Bill was passed by the Seanad (the upper house of the legislature) at the end of March 2018. In the current stage, final statements on the Bill will be made before it is signed into law by the President. Continue Reading Irish Data Protection Bill in Final Committee Stage Before the Irish Legislature
On April 27, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission issued two warning letters to foreign marketers of geolocation tracking devices for violations of the U.S. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”). The first letter was directed to a Chinese company, Gator Group, Ltd., that sold the “Kids GPS Gator Watch” (marketed as a child’s first cellphone); the second was sent to a Swedish company, Tinitell, Inc., marketing a child-based app that works with a mobile phone worn like a watch. Both products collect a child’s precise geolocation data, and the Gator Watch includes geofencing “safe zones.” Continue Reading FTC Issues Warning Letters for Potential COPPA Violations
On March 6, 2018, the Centre for Information Policy Leadership (“CIPL”) at Hunton & Williams LLP issued a white paper on GDPR Implementation in Respect of Children’s Data and Consent (the “White Paper”). The White Paper sets forth guidance and recommendations concerning the application of GDPR requirements to the processing of children’s personal data. The White Paper also highlights and addresses several issues raised by the Article 29 Working Party (the “Working Party”) with regard to children in its guidelines on consent and issues raised by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office in its Consultation on Children and the GDPR. Continue Reading CIPL Issues White Paper on GDPR Implementation in Respect of Children’s Data and Consent
On February 5, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced its most recent Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) case against Explore Talent, an online service marketed to aspiring actors and models. According to the FTC’s complaint, Explore Talent provided a free platform for consumers to find information about upcoming auditions, casting calls and other opportunities. The company also offered a monthly fee-based “pro” service that promised to provide consumers with access to specific opportunities. Users who registered online were asked to input a host of personal information including full name, email, telephone number, mailing address and photo; they also were asked to provide their eye color, hair color, body type, measurements, gender, ethnicity, age range and birth date. Continue Reading FTC Brings Its Thirtieth COPPA Case, Against Online Talent Agency
On January 8, 2018, the FTC announced an agreement with electronic toy manufacturer, VTech Electronics Limited and its U.S. subsidiary, settling charges that VTech violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) by collecting personal information from hundreds of thousands of children without providing direct notice or obtaining their parent’s consent, and failing to take reasonable steps to secure the data it collected. Under the agreement, VTech will (1) pay a $650,000 civil penalty; (2) implement a comprehensive data security program, subject to independent audits for 20 years; and (3) comply with COPPA. This is the FTC’s first COPPA case involving connected toys and the Internet of Things.