Children that surf the internet for Barbie, SpongeBob SquarePants, and other famous kids’ brands will no longer have their private information spied on by toy companies for marketing purposes. Companies could have gathered the children’s data as a deal between four organizations including Mattel and Viacom and New York’s top cop.
Eric Schneiderman who is the General Attorney of New York said that the businesses allowed third parties to access and use the information of children under the age of 13 without their parent’s consent. Schneiderman also mentioned that some of the biggest toy companies failed to defend the children’s privacy taking into consideration that under the Federal law kids are off-limits to the intrusive eyes of promoters.
The two-year probe of the companies which was the first of this sort in the United States involved sites for Nickelodeon brands and Viacom’s Nick Jr., Hot Wheels and Mattel’s Barbie. Moreover, Hasbro’s My Littlest Pet Shop, Nerf and Little Pony, and JumpStart’s Neopets, a virtual pet society acquired from Viacom in 2014 were also included. All of the companies will have to pay a penalty of $835,000, according to the arrangement. Penalties have been divided in $250,000 for Mattel, $500,000 for Viacom and $85,000 for JumpStart.
According to the statement, Schneiderman began observing the companies when he saw that the websites utilized by the companies were using IP addresses or cookies which enable the recognition of a particular user across sites over time.
The technologies used by the corporations supported advertisers and marketers in targeting possible buyers.
A representative of Hasbro, Julie Duffy, mentioned that the Rhode Island-based company, Pawtucket, is highly committed to defending the secrecy of its site readers. They decided to entirely cooperate with the investigators and to implement stricter privacy security policy for their associates. Moreover, they want to establish new rules and engineering to scan the digital properties for widgets, cookies, or other credentials that may break their actual policy.
Schneiderman says that companies should conduct periodically scans to assure that third parties are not involved and that children’s personal information are protected on their websites.
Image source: Pixabay