Violations of online privacy for children
Last modified on Thursday, 11 December 2008 09:08
Sony Music Entertainment, which will be the new name of former Sony BMG, is being sued by the U.S. government on grounds of Sony’s violation of federal rules that protect the online privacy rights of children.
The action, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, claims that Sony Music improperly accepted online Web registrations on its music Websites from users who were younger than 13 and did not obtain proper consent from their parents.
The legal action alleges that Sony Music violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule, which is enforced by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. The action is a civil suit and seeks unspecified monetary penalties. The core part of the legal action alleges that Sony Music’s notice of information gathering practices on its Website did not disclose how it collected the information or how it used the information gathered on the pre-teens.
A Sony BMG executive reportedly has said that the action is in the process of being settled and that Sony Music would agree to pay a $1 million fine and put in place a screening process to bring it in compliance with the FTC regulations, as well as hire a Web compliance officer to monitor the Websites for compliance. The same executive hinted that the suit could be settled as early as today, provided that Sony proves it can be in compliance and is doing so.
Sony Corporation, the mega Japanese consumer electronics company, announced earlier this year that it was purchasing Bertelsmann AG's 50 percent stake in the Sony BMG music group for around $900 million. The new Sony Music Entertainment company will be a wholly owned unit of Sony Corporation of America and will be the world’s second largest next to Vivendi SA Universal.