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Volume X, Number 194

July 10, 2020

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July 09, 2020

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KleptoCats Maker Settles with FTC Over Failure to Get Parental Consent

HyperBeard, the makers of several children’s mobile apps (including KleptoCats), recently settled with the FTC over failure to obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting children’s personal information online, in violation of COPPA. In its complaint, the FTC argued that the HyperBeard apps were clearly directed to children. The apps contained brightly-colored animated characters, kid-friendly language, games that were easy to play, and were promoted on kids’ websites and publications.

In the settlement, the company agreed to pay $150,000 in civil penalties and to delete the information it collected without obtaining appropriate parental consent. The $150,000 payment was in lieu of the $4,000,000 judgment entered against both the company and its CEO. Even still, in an unusual move, one of the commissioners dissented, stating that the penalty was too high in view of the (little) harm that resulted from the violation. The company and its officers also agreed to provide appropriate notice (as required by COPPA), as well as to get parental consent in the future.

Putting it Into Practice: This settlement is a reminder that the FTC continues to scrutinize mobile apps for compliance with COPPA. Those that are “directed to children,” as defined by the law, should think through the statute’s notice and parental consent requirements.

Copyright © 2020, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 181


About this Author

Liisa Thomas, Sheppard Mullin Law Firm, Chicago, Cybersecurity Law Attorney

Liisa Thomas, a partner based in the firm’s Chicago and London offices, is Co-Chair of the Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice. Her clients rely on her ability to create clarity in a sea of confusing legal requirements and describe her as “extremely responsive, while providing thoughtful legal analysis combined with real world practical advice.” Liisa is the author of the definitive treatise on data breach, Thomas on Data Breach: A Practical Guide to Handling Worldwide Data Breach Notification, which has been described as “a no-nonsense roadmap for in-house and...