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Companies pay for collecting kids’ information without permission

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As a parent, you have control over the personal information companies collect online from your kids under 13. This includes your child’s name, address, phone number, email address, and information the companies can use to track your child’s online activities. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) gives you tools to do that. If a site or service is covered by COPPA, it has to get your permission before collecting personal information from your child and it has to honor your choices about how that information is used.

According to the FTC, two app developers didn’t follow the law and are now paying the price. The cases are the first where the FTC alleged that companies allowed advertisers to use persistent identifiers to direct advertising to children. Persistent identifiers are pieces of data that are tied to a particular user or electronic device.

The FTC alleged that both developers created apps directed to children. According to the FTC, the companies allowed third-party advertisers to collect personal information from children in the form of unique persistent identifiers. But defendants didn’t tell the ad networks that the apps were directed to children, or require them to follow COPPA’s collection requirements. What’s more, LAI and Retro Dreamer didn’t give notice or get permission from parents for collecting and using the information.

The settlement requires LAI Systems, LLC to pay a $60,000 civil penalty, and Retro Dreamer and its principals to pay a $300,000 civil penalty. In addition, the FTC will monitor both companies for future compliance.

Learn more about how COPPA works and file a complaint with the FTC if you believe a company has violated your rights.


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