Epic Games Inc., Developer of Fortnite, Agrees to $275 Million Penalty for Children’s Privacy Law violations, as alleged by the FTC and the Department of Justice.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice declared a $275 million settlement by Fortnite developer Epic Games Inc. if approved by the federal court.
Epic Games, the developer of “Fortnite,” allegedly violated the FTC Act, Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), and the COPPA Rule.
A complaint in the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina alleged that Epic Games collected children’s personal information, including email addresses, names, and identifiers, for keeping track of settings, friends lists, and purchases without a verifiable parental consent as obligated by the COPPA Rule.
Furthermore, according to the government’s arraignments, Epic Games maintained default privacy settings that publicly broadcast children’s and teen Fortnite players’ names.
As a result, it exposes them to text and voice chat with adult Fortnite players, which is unfair under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission’s Act. Using privacy-invasive default settings could harm young Fortnite players.
According to Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, The Justice Department’s mission to protect consumers’ data privacy rights is a top priority, especially regarding children. He argues that online service providers should not collect children’s personal data without parental consent.
The FTC continues to argue that online privacy invasion is an unlawful practice, and action should be taken by cracking down on such companies to deter such violations.
The Fortnite developer has consented to the $275 million penalty for the proposed stipulated order. This is a historic and the largest civil fine imposed for a COPPA infringement.
If the court approves the order, the video game developer will be banned from data collection of children’s personal information in a way that violates the Children’s Privacy Law. In addition, Epic Games will also be prohibited from using previously collected children’s data without verifiable parental consent.
The order needs that Epic Games maintains a comprehensive privacy program protecting children and teens and certain personal information.
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