A $3 million settlement by Playdom, the Disney social games studio, sends a pretty clear message that the U.S. Child Online Privacy Protection Act isn't messing around. Violate it, and it will be expensive.
Titles Playdom acquired before Disney acquired it in 2010 were accused by the Federal Trade Commission of collecting kids ages and email addresses, info that was posted live without parental consent. A report notes that was also a violation of Playdom's own internal policies.
The FTC said that 821,000 children registered for Playdom's since-closed Pony Stars, and another 403,000 registered for its general audience sites. Pony Stars and the other offending games were operated by Acclaim, which Playdom bought out in 2010. Former Acclaim CEO Howard Marks was also named in the case.
FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz warned games makers and social networks that they "owe it to parents and their children to provide proper notice and get proper consent.
"It's the law, it's the right thing to do, and, as today's settlement demonstrates, violating COPPA will not come cheap."