U.S. v. Godwin, FTC File No. 1123033 (N.D. Ga. Nov. 8, 2011) The operator of an online social networking site has settled with the FTC over charges that it collected personal information from over 5,000 children in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act ("COPPA") 15 U.S.C. § 6501, et seq. Jones O. Godwin, an individual doing business as Skid-e-Kids, agreed to change his practices, pay a civil penalty, and submit to regular privacy assessments.
COPPA Requires Parental ConsentCOPPA was enacted in 1998 to prohibit the unauthorized or unnecessary collection of children's personal information by websites or online services. As authorized by the law, the FTC promulgated the COPPA Rule. 16 C.F.R. § 312. The Rule requires an operator of a website or online service directed to children under the age of 13 to make reasonable efforts to ensure that a parent of a child receives notice of the operator’s practices with regard to the collection, use, and disclosure of the child’s personal information. The Rule also requires an operator to obtain verifiable parental consent before any collection, use or disclosure of personal information from children, including consent to any material change in collection, use, or disclosure practices. 16 C.F.R. § 312.5(a).
FTC Claims Website Collected Information from ChildrenThe FTC sued Godwin, as the operator of the website Skid-e-kids (at www.skidekids.com). According to the FTC, Skid-e-Kids was a social networking website directed to children aged 7-14, and promoted as the "Facebook and Myspace for kids." FTC Complaint at
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