December 20, 2022Rabbi LakshmananPrivacy / Data Security

Epic Games has reached a $520 million settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). fortnite Creators violated children’s online privacy laws by tricking users into making unintended purchases in video games.

As such, the company will pay a record $275 million fine for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (Coppa) collect personal information from Fortnite players under the age of 13 without parental permission;

Also, to help customers who have been tricked into making purchases by dark patterns and children who have been tricked into making inadvertent purchases, as well as children, can charge fraudulent fees through in-game content purchases without requiring the action or consent of a parent or cardholder. , will pay $245 million.

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“Epic Games had actual knowledge that they collected personal information from children, including identifiers used to track names, email addresses, player progress, purchases, preferences and friends lists.” said the Department of Justice. Said.

“Nevertheless, Epic Games is unable to notify parents that it is collecting personal information from children and obtain verifiable parental consent for that collection, as required by COPPA regulations. was.”

A US video game developer has gone through more scrutiny about enabling voice and text chat settings by default, and in the process has exposed the display names of child and teenage Fortnite players, making it more likely that adult gamers and They were brought into direct contact and subjected to bullying and harassment.

“Despite this and reports that children were harassed, including sexually, while playing the game, the company resisted turning off the default setting,” the FTC said. . Said in a statement.

In addition, the complaint alleges that Epic Games forces parents to “jump undue hoops” to delete their children’s personal data, making it difficult to find options to disable voice chat. condemned.

As part of the proposed settlement, the company is prohibited from turning on children’s voice and text communications unless parents provide affirmative consent. I have been ordered to delete all collected data.

However, Epic Games may retain data if permission is obtained through the Neutral Age Gate from a parent or from a user who identifies themselves to be over the age of 13.

In response to a court order, the company Said We accepted the deal because “Epic wants to be at the forefront of consumer protection and provide players with the best possible experience.”

Development comes a few weeks after Epic Games announced cabin account As a way to provide a “safe and inclusive” experience for younger users Disable feature Chat, personalized recommendations, in-game purchases without parental or guardian consent, and more.

“Epic used privacy-invading default settings to the detriment of young Fortnite players,” said FTC Chairman Lina M. Khan. “Protecting the general public, especially children and teens, from online privacy violations is a top priority for the Commission, and this enforcement action demonstrates that the FTC is cracking down on these illegal activities. will be revealed to

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