On November 8, 2011, the Federal Trade Commission announced that the operator of skidekids.com, a social networking website that advertises itself as the “Facebook and Myspace for Kids,” has agreed to settle charges that he collected personal information from approximately 5,600 children without parental consent, in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) Rule. The proposed settlement will bar future violations of COPPA and misrepresentations about the collection, use and disclosure of children’s information.
The settlement order prohibits future violations of COPPA and misrepresentations about the collection and use of children’s information and requires Godwin to destroy information he collected in violation of COPPA. Additionally, he must, for a period of time, link to online educational material and retain an online privacy professional or join a FTC-approved safe harbor to oversee any COPPA-covered website he may operate. Lastly, the FTC’s announcement states that the proposed Order would include a $100,000 civil penalty, that may be reduced to $1,000 if Godwin provided truthful information about his financial condition and complies with the Order’s oversight provision.