Officials announced Monday that Microsoft will pay $20 million to resolve government claims that it obtained personal information from youngsters without their parents’ permission.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, between 2015 and 2020, Microsoft allegedly acquired and stored personal information from children under the age of 13 who registered for its Xbox gaming system without their parents’ consent.
Users had to enter their first and last names, email addresses, and birth dates in order to open an account.
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, is a regulation that the FTC claimed Microsoft broke.
Head of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection Samuel Levine stated that “our proposed order makes it easier for parents to protect their children’s privacy on Xbox and limits what information Microsoft can collect and retain about children.”
Levine continued, “This action should make it abundantly clear that kids’ avatars, biometric information, and health information are not exempt from COPPA.”
Before the decision can be put into effect, a federal judge must yet approve it.
Microsoft will have to take a number of actions, according to the FTC, to strengthen privacy protections for children using the Xbox system.
Under the COPPA law, online services and websites intended at children under the age of 13 must alert parents about the personal information they collect and seek verifiable parental agreement before collecting and processing any personal information collected from minors.
An AFP request for comment received no immediate response from Microsoft.