Watchdog Tells FTC Disney Site Continues To Violate Children's Privacy Regs

Disney's continues to run afoul of regulations governing children's privacy, the advocacy group Center for Digital Democracy says in a new Federal Trade Commission filing.

The site's new privacy policy, posted late last year -- after the watchdog filed an initial complaint with the FTC -- says that Disney collects and uses “persistent identifiers,” like cookies. The company says it does so principally for internal purposes, but that still leaves open the possibility that Marvelkids collects some information for impermissible reasons, according to CDD.

“Disney’s representation that it collects and uses persistent identifiers “principally” for internal purposes is not consistent with the [Children's Online Privacy Protection Act] Rule requirement that persistent identifiers may not be collected for any other purpose,” the CDD says in a letter sent to the FTC on Thursday.

New Children's Online Privacy Protection Act regulations -- which went into effect last July -- prohibit ad networks and operators of Web sites aimed at children from using behavioral targeting techniques on children under 13, without their parents' consent. Those rules mean that companies can no longer use unique cookies to serve children ads based on their Web activity without parental consent. But companies are allowed to use cookies for other purposes, including frequency capping and site analysis.

Disney's new privacy policy also says it collects data from children in order to “generate anonymous reporting” for use by the Walt Disney Family of Companies. CDD says that this type of “unspecified use” of children's data, by any Disney Company, isn't allowed by the FTC.

The organization also notes that's privacy policy now says that dozens of companies are allowed to collect data from the site, including companies that engage in behavioral advertising. As of last July, Web sites aimed at children under 13 are not allowed to engage in behavioral targeting without parental consent.

In December, the watchdog filed a complaint alleging that violates the federal Children's Online Privacy Protection Act by allowing ad networks to gather data about visitors. At the time, the site's privacy policy indicated that the company allows ad networks to engage in behavioral targeting of visitors



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