The Attorney General of New Jersey has sued a mobile app developer for failing to comply with COPPA. The lawsuit is hardly a surprise as the development of apps often seems to be done with no thought of the law at all.
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act [“COPPA”] requires strict information practices to be followed by businesses when dealing with anyone under 13 years of age. The restrictions range from requiring parental consent to collecting only a minimum of information from kids under 13 on a site.
In the current case, the New Jersey AG is alleging that 24x7digital failed to obtain parental consent before collecting personal information from children under 13 on an app known as “Teach Me.” The Attorney General is asserting the company sold or shared the information with third party advertisers. All of this would violate COPPA.
The thing that makes this case so interesting is the application to apps. A large number of apps on the market target kids under 13. If this lawsuit is successful, the app industry is in for a significant wake-up call.
The interesting thing will be to see how the app makers go about creating a process for getting consent from parents to allow their kids to get the apps. The FTC is currently revising its rule on how to comply with COPPA, so this should make things all the more confusing moving forward.
Perhaps there will be an app for that!
Richard A. Chapo, Esq.