N.J. AG reaches agreement with children's app developer

By Bryan Cohen | Jun 28, 2012


NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa announced a consent decree on Wednesday with a children's app developer that allegedly collected and transmitted children's personal data without permission.

Chiesa's office and the DCA filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles-based 24x7digital LLC, along with Mark Yamashita and Rei Yoshioka, the company's owners, alleging that the company collected the data without notifying parents and obtaining parental consent. Chiesa and the DCA sought the destruction of all previously collected and transmitted data.

"This is a clear victory for children's privacy in the age of mobile devices and the easy transfer of personal information," Chiesa said.

"Parents should be aware that smartphones and similar devices are able to gather a great deal of information about users, including their identities and even their geographic location. We are proactively investigating mobile apps in order to protect consumers and their privacy."

The lawsuit was the first filed by the State Division of Law pursuant to the federal Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. The suit was also the first filed as a result of the DCA's ongoing initiative against acts of cyber-fraud and Internet privacy violations.

As part of the consent decree, 24x7digital and its operators have already stopped collecting personal data from the users of their apps and they have destroyed all personal data that was previously collected in alleged violation of COPPA. 24x7digital directed the company it transmitted the children's personal information to, a third-party data analytics company, to destroy the information.

The company may no longer collect or transmit the personal information of children in the future without providing notice on its website or in its apps about the kinds of information to be collected and ways it will be used, without notifying parents directly and without obtained verifiable consent from parents.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on June 6, alleged that children using 24x7digital's popular series of TeachMe apps were encouraged to provide their first and last names and a picture of themselves when generating player profiles.

The DCA alleged that the apps transmitted the personal information and the unique device identification number identifying the specific mobile device being used, to a third-party data analytics company.

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