Today’s huge news that the FTC has settled COPPA violation cases with two small app developers with civil penalties totaling $360,000 came as quite a surprise. Since it has been nearly two and a half years since the updated COPPA became law, many had written off the FTC ever enforcing COPPA.
The fact that the FTC is making a show of enforcing COPPA is notable because it’s over a quarter of a million dollars’ worth of reminder that your games should be COPPA-compliant if there’s a chance they could collect personal information about a player under the age of 13, or be used to do so.
On September 16, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission announced that mobile app developers Yelp and TinyCo each settled cases with the FTC on COPPA 2.0 non-compliance issues. Both companies’ apps collected personally identifiable information from children under 13 without seeking advance permission from the parents of the children.
Others who know much more about government affairs than me have told me this timetable is pretty normal. It’s important to remember that the public doesn’t hear about FTC activities until they are completed.