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New Mexico sues gaming app maker for COPPA violations

Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security State Issues COPPA State Attorney General

Privacy, Cyber Risk & Data Security

On August 25, the New Mexico attorney general filed a lawsuit against an entertainment corporation for allegedly violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule (COPPA) and New Mexico’s Unfair Practices Act by knowingly collecting and selling personal information from children under the age of 13 without verifiable parental consent. According to the AG, the company purportedly collects data from children who play one of its gaming apps and sells it to third-party marketing companies, who in turn, analyze and repackage the data to sell targeted advertisements to those same children. The complaint stated that, “[t]his conduct endangers the children of New Mexico, undermines the ability of their parents to protect children and their privacy, and violates state and federal law,” adding that the “surreptitious and intentional monitoring, tracking, and profiling of children—in direct violation not only of federal law but of longstanding societal norms—is egregious and highly offensive conduct.” The AG further emphasized that even if a game is targeted towards a broad audience, developers must still ensure that data is not collected from users under the age of 13 without parental consent. The complaint seeks an injunction to prohibit the company’s data collection practices as well as civil penalties and restitution.

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