Viacom, Mattel, Hasbro, And JumpStart Violated Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act By Allowing Illegal Third-Party Tracking Technology At Websites For Barbie, Nick Jr., My Little Pony, American Girl, Hot Wheels, And Dozens Of Others
Companies Agree To Pay Penalties Totaling $835,000, Adopt Comprehensive Reforms To Protect Children From Improper Tracking
From the NYS AG press release of September 13:
Operation Child Tracker,” a two-year, first-of-its-kind investigation by the Attorney General’s office, discovered that websites operated by these companies were home to tracking technology that illegally enabled third-party vendors, such as marketers or advertising companies, to track children’s online activity in violation of COPPA.
The companies – whose online properties include some of the most popular children’s websites, including websites associated with Nick Jr. and Nickelodeon (Viacom); Barbie, Hot Wheels, and American Girl (Mattel); Neopets (JumpStart); and My Little Pony, Littlest Pet Shop, and Nerf (Hasbro) – agreed to pay a combined $835,000 in penalties and implement significant reforms.
Each of the settling parties has agreed to comprehensive reforms to protect children from improper tracking in the future. These include regular electronic scans to monitor for third party tracking technologies, adopting procedures for vetting third parties’ data collection practices to ensure that they comply with COPPA, and providing notice to third parties when they are operating through a website covered by COPPA. Three of the companies — Viacom, Mattel, and JumpStart — will also provide regular reports to the office regarding the results of their scans and pay penalties totaling $835,000. Viacom will pay $500,000; Mattel will pay $250,000; JumpStart will pay $85,000. Hasbro participated in an FTC-approved “safe harbor” program and will not pay a penalty.
Read the full release here for more details as to what the firms had been doing.