Today, January 8th, electronic toy manufacturer VTech agrees to settle FTC Chargers alleging the company violated both U.S children’s privacy law and FTC Act. This marks the first FTC case involving children’s privacy security through connected toys.
The Department of Justice filed a complaint on behalf of the FTC which claims that VTech collected personal information from children without parental approval. Their electronic toys used “Kid Connect” app collected information without notice to parents, violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). What’s more the FTC claims that VTech failed to take reasonable steps to secure the personal data it collected.
COPPA protects online personal data of children under 13 years of age by requiring companies follow steps to ensure the information is safe and clearly disclosing collection practices to parents. The company has to let parents know how this information will be used and verify their consent. By November 2015 approximately 2.25 million parents registered nearly 3 million children on VTech’s online platform, Learning Lodge Navigator. Learning Lodge collected personal information from parents and provided downloads for the Kid Connect app (638,000 accounts) and Planet VTech (130,000 accounts) web gaming and chat platform. Personal information of children was collected through the app. The collected data included parents name, email address, children’s name, date of birth, and gender.
The full press release can be found here.