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Germany’s Federal Network Agency, the telecommunications watchdog, ordered parents to destroy or disable My Friend Cayla doll, a smart connected doll, because of the risks it creates for children’s privacy and safety. The doll, which allo...

A report of the Growing Up Digital Taskforce of the British Children’s Commissioner was recently published, revealing that children routinely sign over their digital rights unknowingly. The report examined the terms and conditions of Instagram...

On 27 June, a Court of Appeals in Philadelphia dismissed a lawsuit against Google and Viacom, which claimed both companies had violated the privacy of children under 13 by using cookies to track their web browsing and video-watching habits on Viacom&...

Following concerns raised by Senator Al Franken, member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, Google clarified in a public letter that it does not use students’ personal information to serve targeted advertisements. ...

On 27 November, Hong Kong-based electronic toy maker VTech announced that a database featuring the names, birthdays and genders of over 200,000 children worldwide as well as information about 4.8m parents such as their email and home addresses had be...

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) launched a social media campaign called "#HellnoBarbie" to denounce the new Internet-connected “Hello Barbie” doll. The CCFC claims the doll, available over the Chris...

The results of a joint research project which looked at 1,494 websites and apps targeted at or popular with children were released earlier this month and highlight poor privacy practices. The monitoring exercise, conducted last May by the ...

On 27 April, users of the website Nick.com filed a brief with the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals aiming to revive a lawsuit accusing Viacom and Google of violating privacy laws. According to the plaintiffs, Viacom violated users' video privacy rights b...

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) has launched a petition against the new Hello Barbie which sends recordings of children's voices across the internet for voice-recognition analysis. The group is worried that Mattel could use a chil...

On 20 January, a federal judge in Newark, New Jersey dismissed the national wide privacy lawsuit against Google and Viacom accusing both companies of violating privacy of children under 13 by tracking their activities on Nickelodeon’s website. ...

During his annual State of the Union address, President Barack Obama highlighted the importance of children's privacy and cyber security. The President emphasised that "no foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, stea...

The Federal Trade Commission has warned China-based developer BabyBus that its app range that teaches letters, numbers and shapes to children from ages one to six may be in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule....

According to PrivacyGrade.org, a project run by computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University (Pennsylvania), apps continue collecting personal data from children despite the solid legislative framework in place. Interestingly, their research rev...

On  the 25th Anniversary of the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child members of the House of Lords discussed the impact of the convention on children’s and young people’s online and digital interactions. The di...

On 16 September, online customer-review service Yelp announced having agreed to pay $450,000 to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to settle charges that the company accepted registration to its services from children under 13 through its apps. Acco...

On 2 September, research network EU Kids Online released a report with recommendations to improve children’s online safety. The report highlights that self-regulation, with oversight by governmental bodies and the EC, remains the primary means ...

On 26 June, EU Kids Online, a research network focusing on children’s safety on the Internet, presented the findings of its latest research project at a meeting of the CEO coalition. The organisation’s representative, Sonia Livingstone, p...

In a press release published on 30 April, Google announced its decision to remove all Gmail messages ad scanning for Apps for Education service, a Google service which offers the company's cloud computing apps to schools and universities free of char...

The National Education Policy Center, based in the University of Colorado, recently released its Sixteenth Annual Report on Schoolhouse Commercialism: 2012-2013 denouncing the impact of commercial influence over children in schools, and criticizing p...

A federal judge in California dismissed a proposed class action lawsuit against Facebook, which sought to represent minors who used the social media website and had their names used in advertisements. At issue was Facebook's use of minors' name...

Disney is under scrutiny by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for potential breaches of children's online privacy laws. The site's new privacy policy, posted late last year says that Disney collects and uses “persistent identifiers,” lik...

The Federal Trade Commission and California Attorney General both claim that Facebook is misinterpreting how a children’s privacy law applies to teen privacy, in a move that could undercut the giant social network in a federal court case i...

A draft bill introduced in the State of Delaware Legislature on 18 March by Democrat representative D. Scott would require operators of a website, online service, online application, or mobile application directed to minors – or with “act...

On 4 September, six US privacy organisations sent a joint letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and to members of Congress expressing concerns over Facebook’s new privacy policy which states that users under 18, in signing up to Facebook...

Amendments to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) go into effect on 1 July. The new rule greatly expands what kind of data requires verified parental consent before being collected from a child under 13, including...

A survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society found that while teens are disclosing more personal information on social media, the vast majority are actively taking steps to protect their priva...

On 6 May, in a letter to five business groups, including the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Application Developers Alliance, the Federal Trade Commission said that it will not delay the implementation of the new Children's Online Privac...

In a letter sent to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman on 15 April, the Application Developers Alliance says developers and publishers need more time to adapt to the revised Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), scheduled to come...

An Opinion on apps available for smart mobile devices released in March 2013 by the Article 29 Working Party, a European advisory body on data protection and privacy, says that data controllers should not process children's data for behavioural adver...

On 1 February, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced an agreement to a $800,000 settlement with Path Inc., a maker of a popular social networking app, over charges that it breached the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rul...

In a letter to Disney CEO Robert Iger, US Representative Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, has raised privacy concerns about plans to introduce electronic bands in Disney theme parks. The MyMagic+ bracelets will hold credit card information ...

Claire Perry, a Conservative MP serving as David Cameron’s adviser on childhood, has called for privacy legislation to be revised in order to allow parents to monitor their children’s internet and mobile communications. Appointed last mo...

On 20 December, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published a report entitled “Understanding the Opportunities and Challenges related to Measuring Information Security, Privacy and the Protection of Children Onli...

On 17 December, nonprofit group the Center for Digital Democracy filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), claiming a SpongeBob app violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by collecting chil...

The French Children's Ombudsman has put forward ten proposals to increase the protection of children in our increasingly technological world in an extensive report published on 20 November 2012, entitled “Children and screens: growing up in the...

Regulators will likely finish a long-awaited update to rules protecting children's online privacy by the end of the year, the head of the Federal Trade Commission said on Tuesday. Speaking at the Wall Street Journal's annual CEO Conference in Washin...

On 5 September, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a set of basic guidelines to help mobile application (“apps”) developers comply with the relevant legislation. The guide, entitled “Marketing Your Mobile App: Get It Right...

A coalition of children’s advocacy, health and public interest groups* plans to file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) this Wednesday against several children’s websites** on grounds that they violate the Children’s...

Research published in the Journal Appetite insists that current policies addressing food marketing to children fail to take into account the interactive nature of digital marketing. The author, Georgina Cairns of the University of Stirling,...

On 27 June, a mobile applications developer sued by the State of New Jersey agreed to stop collecting and transmitting all children’s data who play its popular educational games and to destroy what it has already collected. New Jersey's attorn...

On 16 February, the Council of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) adopted a recommendation to member states’ governments calling for enhanced children’s online protection. The Council is the OECD decis...

On 25 January, the European Commission published a long-awaited proposal to review the 1995 Data Protection Directive. The proposal presented by Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding imposes mandatory parental consent for the collection of any data fro...

On 6 December, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Canada’s privacy watchdog, released new online advertising guidelines spelling out what advertisers, websites and browser developers can - and cannot - do regarding trac...

On 13 December, US NGO the Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against Webkinz World and its owner Ganz for alleged deceptive and unfair trade practices. According to CCFC, the website, pop...

On 13 December, the Commission Nationale Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), the French data protection authority, released the results of a survey on the use of smartphones by consumers aged 15 and older. 71% of respondents do not read the c...

An industry-funded report entitled: “Children’s use of mobile phones — An international comparison 2011” released in November surveyed mobile phone use of eight to 18 year old children, comparing four geographically widespread...

The Federal Trade Commission settled charges on Tuesday against a website accused of collecting personal information from roughly 5,600 children without parental consent in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The...

On 15 September, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed revisions to the 2000 Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Discarding calls for an increase in its age threshold (see AEF Alert 09/05/11), the new rules  would ma...

On 15 August, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced its first settlement against a mobile application (app) developer, fining the company for failing to obtain parental consent before collecting and processing personal information from thou...

On 4 July 2011, a survey commissioned by the French data protection authority (CNIL), the family organisation UNAF, and children’s protection group Action innocence found that nearly 20% of children under 13 are registered to a social network, ...

A report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on 28 March 2011 looks at “the impact of social media on children, adolescents, and families” and finds that the lack of understanding of online privacy issues and the influen...




One of the big challenges for children’s app developers is the reluctance of many parents to pay upfront for apps, even if they distrust in-app purchases. Could advertising be the answer? Ads as the funding source for children’s media is...

Smaller Companies Banning Behaviorally-Targeted Ads, Conducting Expensive Audits Changes to the children's privacy-protection law are keeping kids' site publishers awake at night. The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act changes went into effect...

"Make your privacy policy readable. Avoid collecting data that you don’t need for the app to function normally. Alert users with “enhanced measures” if third parties are collecting information, including for advertising. These are&...

The Federal Trade Commission's proposed revisions of the rules that implement the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) is well-meaning and well-timed. It's well-meaning in that the FTC truly does care about the privacy and safet...

Facebook has told members of Congress virtually nothing about whether and how it might open its doors to children under age 13. Amid reports last month that Facebook could soon permit access for the 12-and-under set, Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Jo...