Making good on its warnings that mobile apps will be an enforcement priority under the revised Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) Rule, the FTC has announced two settlements with mobile app developers:
- TinyCo., the developer of several child-directed mobile apps, will pay $300,000 to settle charges that it violated COPPA by collecting children’s email addresses through its mobile app without sufficient notice and parental consent.
- Yelp, the developer of a general-audience mobile app for user-generated reviews of restaurants and other businesses, will pay $450,000 to settle charges that a technical glitch allowed children under 13 to register without parental notice and consent.
While the settlements are getting a lot of attention in the press, the complaints are perhaps most interesting in that they continue the general trend of FTC enforcement actions addressing clear-cut cases of a company collecting children’s personal information (such as e-mail addresses) without providing parents notice or obtaining parental consent. The FTC’s settlements to date have not included allegations related to online behavioral advertising, social plugins, or similar issues involving the integration of third-party services.