On May 12, 2011, the Federal Trade Commission announced that the operators of 20 online virtual worlds have agreed to pay $3 million to settle charges that they violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection (COPPA) Rule by collecting and disclosing personal information from hundreds of thousands of children under age 13 without their parents' prior consent. The FTC noted that this settlement is the largest civil penalty for a violation of the FTC's COPPA Rule.
On November 30, 2010, the Federal Trade Commission announced a settlement with EchoMetrix, Inc. with respect to charges that the company failed to adequately disclose its privacy practices. EchoMetrix sells software that allows parents to monitor their children's online activities. The FTC alleged that the company engaged in a deceptive act or practice in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act by failing to inform parents that the information the software collected about their children would be disclosed to third parties for marketing purposes.
Social networking entails some risks and responsibilities. It may implicate privacy and labor law, confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements, advertising regulations, defamation, and other legal regimes, across borders in a global medium. Users, and their employers, need to be aware of these risks and responsibilities in deciding how to make best use of social media.
This week, I will be providing short updates from the IAPP Global Privacy Summit in Washington, DC. The conference will be in full swing tomorrow, and I will report on various panels and topics of interest. In the meantime, as I prepare to see old and new friends at the Welcome Reception this evening, a few thoughts on what I expect to see and hear a lot over the next few days.
Remember Candie's shoes and Op shorts? The FTC announced yesterday that it has settled charges against Iconix Brand Group, an owner, licensor, and marketer of popular kids' apparel brands such as Candie's, Op, Mudd, and Bongo, for allegedly violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Among other things, Iconix will pay a $250,000 civil penalty. The FTC filed its complaint and submitted its consent decree and order for approval yesterday in the Southern District of New York.