Tag: children’s online privacy protection act

Mobile game company pays fine for violating the COPPA

TinyCo has settled with the Federal Trade Commission.

The San Francisco-based mobile game developer officially apologized and settled with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last week, for engaging in improper marketing toward children, which violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

The size of the fine TinyCo paid for its violation was $300,000.

According to the FTC, the mobile gaming developer known for popular titles such as Tiny Village, Tiny Zoo and Tiny monsters, was marketing its games to children under the age of 13. The company was also collecting the personal identification of kids. Both of these activities are prohibited under the protection law.

According to the feds, children that played TinyCo games accumulated virtual goods, in-game currencies that allowed them to move up game levels. TinyCo permitted this to occur while it collected personal identifiers (Pls) from children 13 and younger. The company claims that the mistake was an infraction with its social identity system and also stated that it fully supports the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and the Federal Trade Commission’s effort to protect the data and privacy of kids online.

COPPA has been in effect since 2000 and the law requires online websites and services to obtain parental consent before they can collect any personal data, which includes information such as names, locations and email addresses, from users who are 13 and under.Mobile game company pays fine

The mobile game developer was not the only company hit with a fine.

Yelp, an online review site, was also fined by the FTC and settled charges, paying its $450,000 fine. It violated the COPPA by collecting information from users that registered and stated they were 13 or younger. Both Yelp and TinyCo have been required to delete all information that was collected from these children.

The director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, Jessica Rich, said that “As people — especially children — move more of their lives onto mobile devices, it’s important that they have the same consumer protections when they’re using an app that they have when they’re on a Web site.” Rich added that as companies develop and test their apps, they should make certain “that children’s information won’t be collected without a parent’s consent.”

With TinyCo having paid its fine, it is clear that the FTC was not bluffing when it promised to begin enforcing COPPA, especially in regard to mobile games.

Mobile games landscape set to shift in the US

Federal law takes aim at mobile games

The mobile games space in the U.S. is slated for major changes at the beginning of next month. On July 1, 2013, the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) goes into effect. Through the law, the Federal Trade Commission will work to limit the risks that children are exposed to through mobile games and similar media platforms. One of the provisions of the law requires that all mobile developers acquire new privacy certifications from the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB).

Developers pushed to take privacy more seriously

The ESRB’s Privacy Certified program has long existed to account for the privacy risks that are associated with certain forms of online media. The program exists primarily as a way to help app developers comply with COPPA’s stringent regulations. The program has been expanded to better serve the needs of developers of mobile games. The program offers security and privacy analysis for developers and offers them will a variety of solutions that could help them comply with federal law.

mobile games - privacy concerns Mobile games continue to raise privacy concerns

Mobile games have been gaining a significant amount of political attention in the U.S. due to the privacy concerns that have been raised concerning children. Mobile games are quite popular among young people, but these games do little to inform players that their personal information is being collected. Much of the issue lies in the fact that many mobile games do not even ask for approval to collect such information, which is then aggressively used for marketing and other such purposes.

Privacy is becoming a major issue in the US

Privacy has become a major issue in the U.S. and more industries are falling under harsh scrutiny when it comes to consumer information. Mobile games are not exempt from this, as they have long been the target of criticism when it comes to the issue of privacy and the wonton collection of data. Developers that wish to continue producing mobile games must soon take steps to comply with COPPA lest they find the U.S. market significantly more hostile in the immediate future.