Feeds

Social networking site fined for gathering children's data

FTC dishes out $1m penalty

Top three mobile application threats

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:

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.