The commission said the site violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which requires disclosure of information collection, user and disclosure, as well as the FTC's rules against deception.
Related: FTC Makes Case for Data Privacy, Security Muscle
The company agreed to comply with COPPA in the future and to delete the information it previously collected.
How vigorously the FTC enforces online privacy policies will be important in its oversight of ISP privacy, which it is inheriting from the FCC once its vote to reclassify ISPs under Title I goes into effect.
Under the net neutrality regulation rollback, the FTC will be charged with enforcing pledges by ISPs not to block or throttle content.
Republican FTC Chair Maureen Ohlhausen has promised that her agency would be a strong enforcer of online privacy and conduct, and echoed that Monday (Feb. 5) with the release of the settlement. “Explore Talent collected the personal information of more than 100,000 children, but failed to adhere to the safeguards required by law,” she said. “Today’s settlement provides strong relief for consumers and will help ensure children are protected going forward.”
"This settlement shows why we knew COPPA would be needed in the first place, when we campaigned for its congressional enactment in 1998," said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. "It reveals that if the FTC had statutory authority to protect the privacy of Americans aged 13 and up, Google, Facebook, Equinox and the other digital data marketing giants couldn’t get away with what they are able to do today. Sadly, COPPA’s provisions stop when a child turns 13."
(Photo via Rock1997. Image taken on Jan. 18, 2017 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 16x9 aspect ratio.)