Feeds

Social networking site fined for gathering children's data

FTC dishes out $1m penalty

Build a business case: developing custom apps

A social networking website has agreed to pay a $1m fine to settle with authorities over allegations that it collected, used and disclosed personal details of children under 13.

Xanga and its founders Marc Ginsberg and John Hiler have made the payment to settle the case with consumer regulator the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US. The FTC said Xanga had committed an offence under the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

The complaint said Xanga had actual knowledge that they were collecting and disclosing personal information from children, according to an FTC statement. The Xanga site stated that children under 13 could not join, but then allowed visitors to create Xanga accounts even if they provided a birth date indicating they were under 13, it said.

"Protecting kids' privacy online is a top priority for America's parents, and for the FTC," FTC chairman Deborah Platt Majoras said. "COPPA requires all commercial websites, including operators of social networking sites like Xanga, to give parents notice and obtain their consent before collecting personal information from kids they know are under 13. A $1m penalty should make that obligation crystal clear."

In addition to paying the $1m civil penalty, Xanga will be monitored by the FTC and will have to delete all personal information that violates COPPA. The company will also have to provide links on its site to FTC educational material for a period of five years.

Xanga has 25m registered members. The FTC's case claimed that it had allowed 1.7m people under 13 to create personal profiles in the past five years. The creation of profiles involves the collecting and displaying of personal information.

Xanga agreed to a consent order which binds them to make the $1m payment and adhere to other conditions, such as the FTC monitoring and the posting of links to FTC material. Consent orders do "not necessarily constitute an admission by the defendants of a law violation", said the FTC statement.

See:

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Microsoft exits climate denier lobby group
ALEC will have to do without Redmond, it seems
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.