The Secure Times

An online forum of the ABA Section of Antitrust Law's Privacy and Information Security Committee

Settlement in FTC First Case Involving Mobile Applications

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The Federal Trade Commission announced today that W3 Innovations, LLC, a developer of mobile applications, will pay $50, 000 to settle charges that it violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the FTC COPPA Rule (the Rule). The case, United States of America v. W3 Innovations, LLC, is the first FTC case involving mobile applications.

The Rule applies to any operator of a commercial website or online service directed to children that collects, uses and/or discloses children’s personal information. A website operator must obtain “verifiable parental consent prior to collecting, using, and/or disclosing personal information from children.”

The Complaint alleged that defendant had offered some forty apps for download from the Apple’s app store, which allowed users to play games and share information online. These apps, listed by the Defendant in the Games-Kids section of the Apple store, and similar to games played by elementary school girls and boys, were targeted to children.

The Complaint also alleged that the defendant had collected over 30,000 email addresses, and also had collected, maintained, and/or disclosed personal information from about 600 users, but had failed to provide direct notice to parents about this practice and had failed to maintain or link to an online notice of the way it collects data. Defendant had not obtained verifiable consent from parents prior to collecting, using, or disclosing children’s personal information.

The Consent Order (the Order) ordered that Defendant must, within 5 days from the date of entry of the Order, delete all personal information collected and maintained in violation of the Rule, and also pay a $50,000 penalty.


Author: marieandreeweiss

Marie-Andrée was educated in France and in the United States, and holds law degrees from both countries. She is fully bilingual English-French, and writes articles regularly in these two languages on various privacy-related topics. Marie-Andrée is a member of the Bar of the State of New York. As an attorney in solo practice, she focuses on intellectual property, First Amendment, privacy, and Internet-related issues. Before becoming an attorney, she worked several years in the fashion retail industry, as a buyer then a director of marketing. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association (Intellectual Property Section and International Section), and of the American Bar Association (Business Law Section, Section of Antitrust Law, and Section of Intellectual Property Law)

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