- On May 12, 2011, the FTC announced that it had settled a case it brought against Playdom, Inc., a developer of online multi-player games, alleging that Playdom violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by illegally collecting and disclosing personal information from hundreds of thousands of children under age 13 without their parents’ prior consent. The FTC’s COPPA Rule requires website operators to notify parents and obtain their consent before they collect, use, or disclose children’s personal information. Playdom, however, collected children’s ages and e-mail addresses during its online registration process and then enabled children to publicly post their full names, email addresses, instant messenger IDs, and location, among other information, without obtaining a parent’s verified consent. The $3 million settlement is the largest-ever civil penalty for a violation of the FTC’s COPPA rules. United States v. Playdom, Inc., Case No. 11-00724 (C.D. Cal., filed May 11, 2011); FTC File No. 1023036.
A copy of the FTC’s complaint can be found here.
The FTC’s press release regarding the settlement can be found here.
- On May 10, 2011, Jessica Rich, Deputy Director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection, testified before the newly created Senate Privacy Subcommittee, chaired by Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., regarding the protection of consumers’ privacy on mobile devices. Ms. Rich testified that “the Commission is committed to protecting consumers’ privacy in the mobile sphere” by bringing enforcement actions where appropriate and “by working with industry and consumer groups to develop workable solutions that protect consumers while allowing innovation in this growing marketplace.” Ms. Rich also noted that, in December 2010, the FTC released a preliminary report proposing a new privacy framework and sought comment on its proposals. The agency currently is reviewing the more than 450 comments it received. A copy of Ms. Rich’s written testimony can be found here.
- On May 5, 2011, the Department of Justice, on behalf of the FTC, filed a complaint charging three Utah-based firms and their owner with waging deceptive “charity” telemarketing campaigns, including calls to more than 16 million phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry. The complaint alleges that defendants made multiple false and misleading misrepresentations about (1) the nature or purpose of the organizations for which the defendants requested donations, (2) the way in which charitable contributions would be used, and (3) the percentage or amount of any charitable contribution that would go directly to the charity. United States v. Feature Films for Families, Inc., et al., Case No. 11-197 (N.D. Fla., filed May 5, 2011); FTC File No. 102-3023.
A copy of the complaint can be found here.
The FTC’s press release on the case can be found here.