At The Coppa

Is not just a cheesy song:

by Barry Manilow.

COPPA is also short for “Children’s Online Protection Privacy Act.” And a company called W3 Innovations LLC just discovered 50,000 reasons why it matters, courtesy of the FTC. W3 developed a number of game apps for iPhone and iPod touch devised that were geared for kids. They included “Emily’s Girl World,” Emily’s Dress Up” and similar apps. They allowed kids to play games such as “Cootie Catcher” and “Truth or Dare.” The company collected thousands of e-mail addresses from kids who downloaded the apps. And that’s where the trouble started. COPPA requires that online operators that offer products geared to kids to obtain parental consent before collecting personal information from kids. Any such Web site also needs to post a privacy policy that is clear, understandable and complete. W3 missed the mark on both counts. And the FTC hit it with a $50,000 fine. Which is worse even than being a cootie.