The Federal Trade Commission levied a $50,000 fine against W3 Innovations for violating the laws protecting children’s privacy, in what was the first-ever FTC case involving mobile apps.
Central to the ruling were games aimed at children under its Broken Thumbs Apps name, including Emily’s Girl World, Emily’s Dress Up (pictured) and Emily’s Runway High Fashion. Players were encouraged to send in blog posts from their personal email address and, in these three apps, to email “Emily” directly. Additionally, the FTC contended that children were invited to publicly post their personal information on message boards along with things like photos of their pets, tales of their most embarrassing moments, and requests for advice.
Collecting personal information from children under 13 years old violates the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) unless parental consent is granted in advance.
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