Sony Stung With $1 Million Child Privacy Violation Fine

Sony BMG has been stung with a $1 million fine this week by the U.S government in a legal case centering on violations of federal rules protecting children online.

Sony improperly allowed children under 13 to register on its music-based websites, apparently. Since the kids didn’t have to demonstrate parental permission had been given, and Sony’s sites didn’t accurately disclose how it collected user info and what it then did with the data, that’s in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule apparently.

That sounds like a tiny technicality, but on top of the UK governments somewhat bizarre censorship actions regarding Wikipedia this week, it demonstrates quite how much attention is devoted to this aspect of web legality by those in power. Sony sounds like it got off pretty lightly, too: The civil suit sought unspecified damages, and the million dollar fine was a get-out maneuver. Sony now has to change its web registration practices to comply with FTC rules, and put a web compliance officer to task on monitoring the process.

[via Reuters]KE