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Saturday, December 14, 2019

N.J. AG settles with maker of children's app

By Bryan Cohen | Nov 26, 2013


TRENTON, N.J. (Legal Newsline) -- New Jersey Acting Attorney General John Hoffman announced Friday a settlement with a California-based application developer to resolve allegations it violated state and federal law by collecting personal information from its young users.

Dokogeo Inc. allegedly violated the federal Children's Online Privacy Act and the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act by collecting the personal information of children who used its Dokobots mobile app.

The app, which is an animated geolocation scavenger hunt game, requires that users create a personal username, enter their e-mail address and enter a password. Dokobots allegedly uses geolocation scanning to locate other nearby users of the game.

Under the federal COPPA act, operators must fulfill certain requirements when collecting the personal information of children through an online service or website.

"Technological advances continue to make it more convenient for consumers, including children, to spend time online using mobile device applications," Hoffman said in a statement.

"Our commitment is to ensure that children using these apps are protected, and that companies who market the apps do not violate consumer fraud and online privacy laws designed to protect us all."

Under the terms of the settlement, Dokogeo must clearly disclose the types of personal information it collects, how it uses the information and whether it discloses the information to third parties.

Dokogeo must refrain from collecting the personal information of children age 13 and below until it is in compliance with COPPA.

The company also agreed to a suspended payout of $25,000, which will be due immediately if it fails to comply with the settlement agreement at any point over the next 10 years.

The settlement is New Jersey's second with an app developer that allegedly violated the COPPA. In July 2012, the state settled with the Los Angeles-based 24x7digital LLC, which agreed to stop collecting and transmitting the personal data of children without obtaining parental consent.

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