Washington

CDD Files Complaint Against SpongeBob

Says app collects info without sufficiently advising parents 12/17/2012 03:50:02 PM Eastern

For the second time in as many weeks, the
Center for Digital Democracy has filed a complaint at the Federal Trade
Commission over mobile aps, this time against Viacom and mobile game creator
PlayFirst for a game featuring Nickelodeon's iconic character, SpongeBob
Squarepants.

CDD
wants the FTC to take action against the company for its Diner Dash game, which
the group says violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.

They
argue that while the game is free, it is designed to encourage kids to buy
upgrades and say the game's privacy policy claims the apps data-collection
squares with COPPA, when it doesn't. "The SpongeBob Diner Dash game asks
children to provide a wide range of personal information, including full name,
email address, and other online contact information, without providing notice
to parents or obtaining prior parental consent, as required by the Children's
Online Privacy Protection Act," they say in the complaint, "nor does
the app provide an adequate description of the personal information it collects
or how it is used."

This
complaint, and a similar one filed last week against mobile game company,
Mobbles Corp.
,
come on the even of the FTC's expected announcement of changes to its COPPA
enforcement to increase the information treated as sensitive personal info and
otherwise toughen the rules for the digital marketing age.

CDD
and other groups also filed a complaint last August against Viacom for what it
said were COPPA violations stemming from viral marketing. A complaint does not
mean the companies have necessarily violated the law or that the FTC will take
action.

"We were just made aware of this complaint from press reports filed this morning and are currently investigating it," said Nickelodeon.

 

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