SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Federal prosecutors on Tuesday sued Yelp and a game developer for collecting information from children without their parents’ permission.
Yelp and TinyCo, a mobile app developer, violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by collecting children’s information within their apps, according to the lawsuits.
Yelp’s app allows users to register for new accounts through the application, but does not have a screening mechanism to prevent children from registering, the lawsuit says. The app collects information, including full names, email addresses and ZIP codes, and includes the option of creating a personal profile with photos and other identifying information.
TinyCo, which creates games for children, encouraged users of its kids’ apps to provide their email addresses in exchange for free in-app currency, the lawsuit says.
“TinyCo was aware that many children used the kids’ apps,” the lawsuit states. “In fact, TinyCo has received complaints from many parents whose children under the age of 13 use the kids’ apps.”
The children’s privacy act prohibits the unauthorized or unnecessary collection of children’s personal information online by Internet companies.
The Department of Justice seeks penalties and permanent injunctions.
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