The Attorney General (AG) for the State of New York imposed the largest-ever penalty for violations of the U.S. federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) – 4.95 million dollars – in a settlement reached with Oath, Inc., the successor of AOL.
The AG alleged that AOL knowingly provided online advertising services to a website directed to children under the age of 13, which services involved the collection of personally identifying information from those underaged children using cookies. The information collected was also shared onward with other companies in the online advertising chain.
The AG found evidence that AOL intentionally ignored notices it received from a dozen websites that informed AOL that they are subject to COPPA and its restrictions. AOL allegedly continued to collect and process personal information from children visiting those websites, despite the notifications.
The AG also found that AOL itself had reviewed hundreds of websites and concluded that they were directed to children yet continued to collect and process information from children visiting those websites.
The settlement also required Oath to destroy the personal information of children in its possession, establish, maintain and implement a rigorous COPPA compliance program and designate an officer to oversee the program.
CLICK HERE to read the New York AG’s press release.