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Microsoft will pay $20 million FTC fine for violating kids' privacy on Xbox Live

2023-06-06 18:53 by
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Microsoft has agreed to pay a $20 million fine to the US Federal Trade Commission to settle charges that it violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by collecting the personal information of minors who signed up to the Xbox gaming service without notifying their parents or gaining parental consent.

The issue concerns use of the Xbox Live Service by children under 13 years of age, who were able to create accounts prior to parental approval. The supplied information, such as "first and last name, email address and their date of birth," was delivered by Microsoft to "third-party" games companies, which also permitted the sending of promotional messages. Such information falls under the legal stipulations of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

"Our proposed order makes it easier for parents to protect their children's privacy on Xbox, and limits what information Microsoft can collect and retain about kids," said Samuel Levine, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a news release. "This action should also make it abundantly clear that kids' avatars, biometric data, and health information are not exempt from COPPA."

Microsoft has already made a series of changes in the process of verifying child accounts, said Dave McCarthy, the company's corporate vice president of Xbox Player Services, in a post about the settlement.

"Regrettably, we did not meet customer expectations and are committed to complying with the order to continue improving upon our safety measures," McCarthy wrote. "We believe that we can and should do more, and we'll remain steadfast in our commitment to safety, privacy, and security for our community."

Going forward, players under age 13 who created an Xbox Live account before May 2021 will have to reverify their accounts with parental consent.

Read more -here-


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