San Francisco-based studio TinyCo paid a fine of $300,000 for violating the agreement on the protection of private user information belonging to children (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule or COPPA).
TinyCo was accused that their games Tiny Monsters and Tiny Village, whose target audience includes children under 13, stored the private information of young users, and also sold them virtual goods and virtual currency – in violation of the aforementioned agreement. The company tried to justify itself by saying that the social identification system for its titles was developed before the amendment to COPPA was adopted, making the storage of postal addresses of children under 13 illegal.
The company made an official apology to users on its website and paid a fine of $300,000. Following the court order, TinyCo also undertook to delete all data of children under 13 from its servers.
According to the amendment to COPPA, which entered into force on July 1, 2013, the game developer is obliged to delete information received from children under the age of 13, if it allows identifying the user. COPPA is valid only in the United States.