Articles Posted in Child Protection


iStock-872962368-chat-bots-265x300Much like humans, bots come in all shapes and sizes. In social media networks, these bots can like what you post and even increase your followers. Companies use bots for all types of things—from booking a ride to giving makeup tutorials. Some bots can even solve your legal problems. Besides saving time and money, bots have the potential to reduce errors and increase a business’s customer base. But what happens when bots spy on users and share personal information? Or when they make racial slurs and offensive comments?

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Binary worldA weekly wrap up of interesting news about virtual worlds, virtual goods and other social media.



Amazon Enters Social Gaming Market
Amazon is entering the social gaming market just as two companies that pioneered the space, Facebook and Zynga, are struggling to figure out better ways to make money.

Gaming Industry Haunted by Safety Concerns
It’s never been a better time to be a game developer. It’s also never been more complicated. When building games, founders must keep young players safe – and stay within the law.

Zynga Builds Lobbying Presence on Gambling
Zynga Inc. has begun investigating in state and federal lobbying efforts around gambling with real money, even as the social gaming firm predicts the U.S. will not be an initial market for the potentially lucrative new line of business.

$1 Million Each Year for All, as Long as Tribe’s Luck Holds
The financial success of the 480 members of the Shakopee Tribe – whose ancestors 150 years ago were hunted down, slaughtered, and eventually exiled from Minnesota – derives from their flourishing casino and resort operation, which on weekends swells the population of their tiny reservation to the size of a city.

Online Gambling: What’s the rush?
Internet betting may be the future, but that doesn’t mean Maryland legislators should rush into legalizing it.

Bingo! Facebook Gambles On Games Using Real Money, Not Credits, To Engage Users
For the last three quarters, Facebook has been struggling to move the needle on its payments business, but today a new game has launched that could provide a clue to how that could change that in the future: the social network has, for the first time, allowed a gaming app on its platform that allows users to play with real money — not Facebook Credits. Called Bingo & Slots Friendzy, the app is an extension of the franchise from Gamesys, and will be available in the UK only, and only to users over the age of 18.


MH900422734.JPGThe New Jersey attorney general sued 24 x 7 Digital LLC, a Los Angeles-based developer of applications for mobile devices, for child online privacy violations. The suit alleges that 24 x 7’s kids educational apps collect personal information from children younger than 13 and transmit that information to a third-party without parental notice or consent.

The information includes kid created profiles containing their first and last names and a picture. The app allegedly transmits that information and the unique device identification number associated with the mobile device the child is using. This information is provided to a third party analytics company. A copy of the complaint in (Chiesa v. 24 x 7 Digital LLC, D.N.J., Case No. filed 6/6/12) can be found here: NJ_060612.pdf.

As the frequency of mobile app enforcements increases, it is critical to ensure that you have conducted a proper legal audit of compliance issues with your app to avoid being the next headline. It is important to ensure that you consider how you use and share data with third parties, among other things.


Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a senior member and former chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Communications, Technology and the Internet Subcommittee, sent a letter dated February 8, 2011 to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requesting more information about possible consumer protection issues related to “in-app” purchases, particularly relating to kids.

The following is an excerpt from the letter:

I am disturbed by news that in-app purchases may be taking advantage of children’s lack of understanding when it comes to money and what it means to ‘buy’ an imaginary game piece on the Web.  Companies shouldn’t be able to use Smurfs and snowflakes and zoos as online ATMs pulling money from the pockets of unsuspecting parents.  The use of mobile apps will continue to escalate, which is why it is critical that more is done now to examine these practices. I will continue to closely monitor this issue and look forward to the FTC’s response.”

Click here for a copy of the letter

It is important for companies to understand the potential legal issues with innovative business models and to ensure clarity so that consumers understand


The Federal Trade Commission has extended until July 12, 2010, the deadline for public comments on its review of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule. The request for comments was originally published in the Federal Register on April 5, 2010.

As stated on the FTC website:

The primary goal of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule is to give parents control over what information is collected from their children online and how such information may be used.

The Rule applies to:

* Operators of commercial Web sites and online services directed to children under 13 that collect personal information from them;

* Operators of general audience sites that knowingly collect personal information from children under 13; and
* Operators of general audience sites that have a separate children’s area and that collect personal information from children under 13.

The Rule requires operators to:

* Post a privacy policy on the homepage of the Web site and link to the privacy policy on every page where personal information is collected.

* Provide notice about the site’s information collection practices to parents and obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting personal information from children.

* Give parents a choice as to whether their child’s personal information will be disclosed to third parties.

* Provide parents access to their child’s personal information and the opportunity to delete the child’s personal information and opt-out of future collection or use of the information.

* Not condition a child’s participation in a game, contest or other activity on the child’s disclosing more personal information than is reasonably necessary to participate in that activity.

* Maintain the confidentiality, security and integrity of personal information collected from children.

Many in the industry have complained that the FTC has not provided clear enough guidance on how to comply with COPPA.

However, in order to encourage active industry self-regulation, COPPA also includes a safe harbor provision allowing industry groups and others to request Commission approval of self-regulatory guidelines to govern participating Web sites’ compliance with the Rule.

One of the few companies to have received Safe Harbor status is Pillsbury client Privo, Inc.