Yelp Fined $450K for Snooping on Children

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Yelp will pay $450,000 to settle claims that it collected children’s information without their parents’ consent, a federal judge ruled.
     U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg signed off Monday on a civil penalty and injunction to which the parties previously stipulated.
     It has been just under a week since the Justice Department filed its Sept. 16 action under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, alleging that Yelp collected children’s information with its mobile app.
     The app allows users to register for new accounts but does not have a screening mechanism to prevent kids from registering. Information collected by the app includes full names, email addresses and ZIP codes.
     Under the settlement, Yelp must ensure that it informs parents of its information-collection policy, and it must get parental consent before collecting, using or disclosing children’s personal information.
     Yelp must also destroy the information collected from children who registered with Yelp, unless a government agency has different plans for the data, the order says.
     Another exemption exists if the information is “required by law, regulation, or court order.”
     On the same day that it went after Yelp, the Justice Department had also taken aim at San Francisco-based game developer TinyCo over the same issue. TinyCo faces a $300,000 fine, according to court documents.

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