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Wednesday, 3 October, 2001, 09:44 GMT 10:44 UK
Toy firm fined over children's web privacy
The Lisa Frank website
Lisa Frank has now amended its website
An American toys and school supplies maker that used the internet to collect personal information from children has been ordered to pay a $30,000 fine and change its website.

Lisa Frank collected the information without parents' consent, resulting in the US government charging it with the violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.

The fine was levied by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the government agency responsible - among other things - for monitoring privacy issues.

Lisa Frank had been accused of demanding that children filled in a form that asked for details about their names, contact details and dates of birth.

The children had to fill in the form to get access to parts of the company's website, the government said.

Not guilty

The privacy act requires websites to:

  • carry privacy policy statements
  • get verifiable parental consent before soliciting information from children
  • offer an opportunity for the information to be removed

The fine will settle the matter, though the company does not admit to having broken the law.

In a statement, the company's chief executive Rhonda Rowlette insisted that the information provided by the children had not been used for marketing purposes, and it had not been released to others.

Its website has already been changed, and Lisa Frank has promised that it will not collect personal information except in the contect of online competitions, or shopping, both of which are allowable under FTC regulations.

"We care about the safety of children and will do everything possible to protect the privacy of our visitors," the firm said.

See also:

29 Jun 01 | Business
Testing times for youngsters
09 Jan 01 | UK
Parents on the edge
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