Microsoft and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States will soon discuss Activision’s Blizzard acquisition, but before that, they have a different problem to solve. With a press release, the FTC revealed that Microsoft will be required to pay 20 million dollars for violating a children’s protection law.
The American regulator stated that Microsoft has been compiling children’s information through the use of the Xbox console. The main issue comes from the fact that the company did this without the consent of users, and parents and stored the information illegally. As a result, the American company infringed the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA).
This law requires services and websites targeted toward users who are younger than 13 years old to notify parents and guardians about the information that is being compiled. However, Microsoft used different information details from users below 13 years of age in the creation of Xbox accounts, and only in 2021 the video game company started asking for parental supervision for underaged users to sign-up for their service.
Besides paying the sanction, Microsoft will have to make some adjustments regarding the data management of minors in the Xbox. Firstly, they must inform parents and guardians about the possibility to create accounts dedicated toward children and have to offer additional privacy measurements.
FTC will require Microsoft to pay $20 million over charges it illegally collected personal information from children who signed up for its Xbox gaming system without their parents’ consent: https://t.co/kgm0wFp2zG /1 #privacy
— FTC (@FTC) June 5, 2023
The company will also have to get parents and guardians’ consent for all the accounts that were created before May 2021, in case the owner is still a minor. In addition, it will have to delete all the children’s information two weeks after it is compiled.