Microsoft must Pay $20 million for Illegally Collected Personal Information from Children

Microsoft will pay $20 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by collecting personal information from children who signed up to its Xbox gaming system without notifying their parents or obtaining their parents’ consent, and by illegally retaining children’s personal information.

Snookies12111d ago (Edited 111d ago )

On one hand, I absolutely HATE this COPPA B.S. because it has ruined YouTube for adults. However, in this instance, it very much needed to be enforced.

SullysCigar110d ago

They're trying to tighten the internet up all over the world. As you say, it's good in some ways, but they're also using 'the children' to stamp out freedom of speech and the right to an opinion that doesn't meet the governments' preferred narratives (aka: 'wrongthink').

All that aside, what Microsoft has been caught doing is not cool, and I'm glad they've been busted for it. Clearly $20million is not going to hurt them, but they won't enjoy this being brought into the public eye. Hopefully they'll change this nonsense now they're bang to rights.

darthv72110d ago

I thought kids need their parents permission? I know I had to create my kids silver memberships for them as they were under 18. If a kid creates a profile unbeknownst to the parent... how is MS going to know?

SullysCigar110d ago

^ That's not really the point, @darthv77. Microsoft were collecting and sharing this data for child accounts for years, even without the parental consent part of the process having taken place. They had a pre-checked agreement as part of the process that the kids filled out, to 'allow' them to do this, but this is in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, making it illegal.

darthv72110d ago

Is this the same agreement that everyone fills out, or is it somehow specific to kids?

SullysCigar110d ago

^ I don't understand what difference that makes? I'd assume it's the same, but it's impacted by a different law if it's a kid's account, because that particular act is designed to protect kids, not adults.

darthv72110d ago (Edited 110d ago )

the point im trying to make is that regardless of a persons real world age... MS cant tell who is or is not following the rules when it comes to signing up. Kids can / do lie on forms to gain access to things they shouldnt. That is personal responsibility and a company can make all the terms of service they want... it wont stop a kid from engaging in improper activity because kids get curious and like to see how far they can go before they get caught. When you are old enough, the allure is no longer there. Its like taking a drink before you are 21, after 21 its no big deal. Half the fun of being a kid is seeing what kind of mischief you can get away with.

And why i asked about the form is because they lay out all the rules in the ToS and people are supposed to read them before they agree to it. And yes there are plenty who skip that part and just want to get onto the next screen... I'm sure we are ALL guilty of that in some way or another. Many may not know this but ever since the 80's, when Regan deregulated advertising towards children, that is when things took a big turn in regards to targeted advertising. Remember cartoons like Gi Joe, Transformers, He-Man... all of which weren't so much about the 'show' but instead about the toys those companies wanted to sell. And the same goes for breakfast cereal... all of which are to entice kids to want them. Video games have always been targeted towards kids. Those of us who grew up with them to know that.

People want to chastise Ms for collecting info on kids well news flash... they collect info on EVERYONE. They do not discriminate when it comes to collecting the info of people who sign up for their services. I imagine its the same for Sony and Nintendo as well.

Personally speaking, I was in control of my kids gaming profiles for XB, PS and Nintendo because that is the kind of parent I am. Its MY responsibility, not my kids and certainly not MS or Sony or Nintendo. Now they are older, they all have control over their own accounts, which is fine by me as they were hogging my XBL and PSN all the time when they were younger. Now THEY are responsible for their actions and I would hope they do the same when they become parents.

SullysCigar110d ago

^ I'm sorry, @darthv77, at this point I'm honestly not sure if you're still missing the point or you're being deliberately obtuse in order to fashion some flimsy defence on Microsoft's behalf.

First of all, other companies have certainly done this too - and they're equally at fault in regions where COPPA is in force. And they've been duly fined.

Secondly, the fact that they collect this data for everyone is totally irrelevant. If an account clearly indicates that the holder is a minor and it's unverified by a parent or guardian, they shouldn't be collecting and sharing that data with other companies. To do so IS in breach of the COPPA.

TL;DR: It is ENTIRELY Microsoft's responsibility. The ToS does not supersede the COPPA, nor can they hide behind the narrative "it's not our fault their parents are sh!t, your honour".

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 110d ago
just_looken110d ago (Edited 110d ago )

Yep i am so dam tired of America being the 21st century world police force.

Every website must bend to usa law every game must tune into what America wants every tv show now must be made for America audience and America invades a country every 5-8 years to impose there beliefs and law onto the people..

The internet was a free place to express ones self now its full of bubbles and us law enforcers.

I like to watch international tv when its free of america control no doubt if usa citizens saw a french beach or the country of finland pre invasion of nato they would have a hear attack.

isarai110d ago

That's a very creepy metric to target specifically

Eonjay110d ago

Hide ya kids hide ya wife.

XiNatsuDragnel110d ago

Yep Microsoft needed that humility imo

Relientk77110d ago

"And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for your meddling kids!"

- Microsoft & every Scooby-Doo villain

darkrider110d ago

Microsoft being Microsoft. What an amazing trillion dollar company

StormSnooper110d ago

and they want everyone to trust them with acquiring a large chunk of gaming... Like they have acted in a trust worthy way in the past.