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COPPA Makes its Mark on HBO’s Silicon Valley

You know you’ve made it when you’re featured on HBO’s hit comedy, Silicon Valley, the show that portrays the hilarious ups and downs of a Bay Area tech start-up.  The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) got a starring role last week in the second episode – “Term of Service” – of the show’s 4th Season on HBO.
To recap, Dinesh Chugtai, CEO of the company that developed the wildly popular app “PiperChat,” has a breakdown when he realizes that the video chat app violates COPPA because 1/3 of its users are kids under 13 years old.  He loses his power-trip swagger when the start-up’s ex-con lawyer tells him about the $16,000 per usage violation –potential fines in the billions of dollars – and eventually collapses in a pitiful heap in the company bathtub. 
What Dinesh and the show’s writers don’t know is that it in June 2016, the FTC announced that it would be increasing its maximum civil penalty amount from $16,000 to $40,000 per violation under COPPA.
Had Dinesh turned to…
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Amazon Drops Appeal Related to Unauthorized In-App Charges Incurred by Children

The Federal Trade Commission and Amazon Inc. have agreed to end the appeal based on last year's court findings that Amazon charged consumers for unauthorized in-app charges incurred by children. Affected consumers will soon be able to seek refunds from the online retailer. Visit the FTC press release for more information.

New YouTube Rules Restrict Ads to Certain Channels

YouTube made a big change yesterday, shaking up the industry for online content creators. The popular website decided to stop serving ads on YouTube Partner channels that have not reached at least 10,000 lifetime views. The purpose of requiring the threshold views is to provide the platform information to ensure the validity of a channel. This will hopefully help to avoid advertisers' content ending up on inappropriate and/or illegal channels that violate YouTube's Terms of Service.

For more information, check out this article in Ad Age.
Yesterday, the New York State Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman announced a settlement with True Ultimate Standards Everywhere, Inc. ("TRUSTe"), a technology security company. TRUSTe failed to adequately assess members' websites, leaving child visitors to be tracked without parental consent. This is prohibited under the federal Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). For more information, visit the State Attorney General's press release here.

CARU Attends Meeting in Washington DC About Empowering and Protecting Kids in Today's Digital Age

CARU sent Senior Staff attorney, Angela Tiffin down to Washington D.C. for a special half day meeting about Empowering and Protecting Youth in the Big Data Era. The meeting was hosted by Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialog (TACD) and brought together leading consumer and privacy advocates, academics, policy makers, and industry representatives for a focused roundtable discussion. Conversation topics included key privacy and advertising issues raised by emerging trends in contemporary children’s digital media.

If you have a meeting or conference that you would like CARU to speak at or attend please contact our Manager of Business and Marketing, Jay Black at Jblack@caru.bbb.org.

BBC Reporting Recommended Videos on YouTube Pose an Issue for Children

The BBC is reporting that when it comes to recommended videos on YouTube there is a real issue. It has reportedly discovered that thousands of these recommended videos, which appear to be popular children's cartoons like Peppa Pig and the characters from Disney's Frozen, contain disturbing and violent content not suitable for children. To read more about this, click here to visit the BBC's article.

Google Family Link App Allows Parents to Make Accounts fro Kids Under 13

Google is changing the game with "Google Family Link," an app that allows parents to create special Google accounts for children under 13. Not only does the app allow parents to create the accounts but it provides easy access for monitoring. The program is currently only available in the US and is only available if you have an invitation. For more information, check out Google's blog to learn more.