On December 22, 2014, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it notified China-based BabyBus (Fujian) Network Technology Co., Ltd., (“BabyBus”) that several of the company’s mobile applications (“apps”) appear to be in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (the “COPPA Rule”). In a letter dated December 17, 2014, the FTC warned BabyBus of potential COPPA violations stemming from allegations that the company has failed to obtain verifiable parental consent prior to its apps collecting and disclosing the precise geolocation information of users under the age of 13.
BabyBus offers more than 60 free mobile apps marketed to children between the ages of one and six on popular app marketplaces in the U.S. In its letter, the FTC alleges that BabyBus apps are directed to children under the age of 13 in the U.S., and therefore, the foreign-based company is required to comply with the COPPA Rule by obtaining verifiable parental consent before collecting, using or disclosing the precise geolocation information of its users who are under the age of 13 in the U.S.
The letter recommends that BabyBus review all of its apps in order to ensure that the company lawfully collects personal information from children in accordance with the COPPA Rule’s legal requirements. Furthermore, the letter indicates that the FTC plans to review BabyBus apps again next month.