Operators Of Justin Bieber's Website Fined $1 Million Dollars
Many of today's kids engage with the Internet continuously. Some websites--from artist sites to game sites--allow kids under the age of 13 to register, often asking the kids to provide personal information to get to the content. One company, Artist Arena, recently violated a whole bunch of laws in order to mine data from kids using popular artist sites as a vehicle, including Justin Bieberís site. Now, the company will shell out $1 million dollars in penalties for the illegal accumulation of information on minors.
On October 2, Artist Arena was officially charged via Complaint, United States v. Artist Arena LLC for violating the FTCís Childrenís Online Privacy Protection Rule. Some 25,000 children under the age of 13 had information collected in full, and another 75,000 had some information monitored. According to Forbes, to make matters much, much worse, in some cases, e-mails went out to parents stating information would not be collected without parental consent, but information was being collected.
To make matters worse, the sites Artist Arena werenít just some run-of-the-mill fans sites. The sites where information has been pulled include Rihannaís www.RihannaNow.com, Demi Lovatoís www.DemiLovatoFanClub.net, Justin Bieberís www.BeiberFever.com, and Selena Gomezís www.SelenaGomez.com. Thereís a lot of top forty hits in those names, and clearly a lot of fans.
Luckily, the artists themselves do not seem to be part of the Complaint. For Artist Arena, on the other hand, payback will be a bitch. The company has already promised to delete any information they have been privy to in the past. They will also be watched closely by the FTC in the future and will have to abide by the laws set forth by the government group. Which brings us to the $1 million dollar payout the group has agreed to. So, for all companies in the future: taking young childrenís information is probably not worth the headache that will come later, should you be caught.