The Latest News From...

The Latest News From...

Monday, January 4, 2016

COPPA Settles Two Cases with App Companies Hinging on Collection of Persistent Identifiers

In case you missed it with all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, to close out 2015, the Federal Trade Commision (FTC) settled two cases with the operators of two "online services" directed to children. The FTC charged the two app operators with violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by allowing third-party advertising networks to use their apps to collect children's personal information without parental knowledge or consent.

The apps were collecting persistent identifiers, which is data that can be used to recognize a children over time and across different websites. Advertisers then use such identifiers to track online behavior and target ads based on those behaviors. In these cases, the apps were allowing the ad networks to collect the persistent identifiers from children so the children could be served personalized ads. Both cases involved apps that were directed to children. In each case, the only violation was the collection of the persistent identifiers, which is a first.

The settlements involved fines for LAI Systems of $60,000 and Retro Dreamer of $300,000 in civil penalties. The companies will be required to bring their apps into compliance with COPPA, which means obtaining verifiable parental consent before collecting, using or disclosing children's personal information as well as posting a clear privacy policy.

To learn more, visit the FTC's website.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

CARU Celebrates the Holidays with a Toy Drive

The Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU) hosted its first Toy Drive to benefit the Marine Toys for Tots foundation. CARU invited members of its office and building to contribute new, unwrapped toys in an effort to spread holiday joy to some of the more than 15 million children living in poverty in the United States.

CARU collected over 50 toys to donate! There were toys for children of all ages. From building blocks to board games, CARU hopes to brighten many children's holidays.

CARU hopes to make this an annual tradition in an effort to help make the season bright! Toys for Tots have drop-off locations across New York City. Toys for Tots are accepting donations until Monday December 14th. To find a drop-off location near you, click here.

Toy distribution takes place mid to late December. Coordinators pick up the toys and store them in central warehouses where the toys are sorted by age and gender. At Christmas, Coordinators, with the assistance of local social welfare agencies, church groups, and other local community agencies, distribute the toys to the less fortunate children of the community. Over the years, Marines have established close working relationships with social welfare agencies, churches and other local community agencies which are well qualified to identify the needy children in the community and play important roles in the distribution of the toys.

Remember, one toy and one act of kindness can really make a difference to one child. Happy holidays to you and yours!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

GoldieBlox's Video Celebrating Strong Women with YouTube's Biggest Child Stars Rocks

Children Have a Difficult Time Differentiating Between Google Ads and Google Search Results

Ofcom, the UK telecom's watchdog, conducted a study recently that suggests that only one third of young people aged 12-15 understand when search results on Google are advertisements. And this figure unsurprisingly dipped lower for children aged 8-11 where less than one in five children understood when results were sponsored.

This study suggests that merely because children are extremely adept (often more so than even their parents) that this does not mean that children understand when something is a paid advertisement--even when it is labeled as such.

Among other things, the research also suggests that this lack of awareness also is noticeable when it came to children and YouTube where 53% of those surveyed in the age group of 12-15 year-olds were unaware that vloggers may be paid to endorse products.

To read the full study, click here.

Federal Trade Commission Grants Approval for New Parental Consent Mechanism Under COPPA

The Federal Trade Commission has granted approval for a new method that companies can use to obtain verifiable parental consent under the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule.

Riyo Verified Ltd. uses a "face match to verified photo identification" (FMVPI) as a method to verify that the person offering consent for a child is indeed that child's parent. FMVPI is a two-step process where a parent first provides an image of their photo identification (like a driver's license), which is legitimized using various technologies to ensure it is authentic. In the second step, the parent then provides a photo of themselves with a phone or web camera. This photo is then analyzed to confirm that the live person is indeed a live person and that the photo is the same person in the identification.

To learn more about this new method, visit the FTC's website.

VTech Hack Exposes 5 Million Customers, Including Kids

VTech acknowledged that there was a data breach on November 14 that will affect over 5 million customer accounts, including those of children.  The hack is said to have specifically targeted VTech's "Learning Lodge" app database. Children's photos as well as chats between parents and kids were apparently vulnerable during the attack. All affected customers were contacted directly. To learn more about the hack, click here.

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and Center for Digital Democracy File Complaints About Youtube Kids

Complaints were filed to federal officials on Tuesday November 24, 2015 by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and Center for Digital Democracy. The complaints were made to the Federal Trade Commission and urge them to take action against YouTube Kids. The complaints argue that the channel is too commercialized and is not held to the same standards as cable television. To read the full complaint, visit the Commercial Free Childhood Online.