When I respond, or seek responses, I think of the Internet Republic and the people [[whump]] and the places who have made our water world Eden brave and free and fair. Permitted, required, and impossible. Stand alone or stand with, whose choice to what degree [[Thn/]] O[[thn/]]ne water world Eden under "We the people" – created by whom?

WANTED: US Surgeon General Privacy Warning & Disclosure

Fan Sites Settle Children’s Privacy Charges
Published: October 3, 2012 Comment

The operator of fan Web sites for the pop stars Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Rihanna and Demi Lovato agreed to pay a $1 million civil penalty to settle federal charges that the sites illegally collected personal information about thousands of children, the Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday.
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Artist Arena will settle federal charges for violating a children’s online privacy rule through Web sites for pop stars like Selena Gomez.
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In a complaint, the Federal Trade Commission said that Artist Arena, the operator of the sites, violated a children’s online privacy rule by collecting personal details — like the names, e-mail addresses, street addresses and cellphone numbers — of about 101,000 children aged 12 or younger without their parents’ permission.

The law, called the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or Coppa, requires operators of Web sites to notify parents and obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting, using or disclosing personal information about children younger than 13.

The sites are BieberFever.com, SelenaGomez.com, RihannaNow.com and DemiLovatoFanClub, which is no longer in operation. The agency did not accuse the pop stars themselves of any wrongdoing.

At a conference on children’s marketing in New York on Wednesday, Edith Ramirez, a member of the F.T.C., said the settlement still required ratification in court.

As part of the registration process, the four fan sites asked users to submit personal details including their birth dates that would enable members to create online profiles, post messages and sign up for newsletters about the pop stars, the complaint said. Because the sites therefore knew the children’s ages, the F.T.C. charged, the company had knowingly collected information and failed to properly notify their parents.

“These were fan sites that knew that a very substantial percentage of users were 12 or under,” said David C. Vladeck, the director of the F.T.C.’s bureau of consumer protection. “There is really no excuse for violations like these.”

Artist Arena, a division of Warner Music Group that manages artist fan clubs, neither admitted nor denied the agency’s allegations. Warner first invested in Artist Arena in 2007 and bought the company in 2010. James Steven, a spokesman for Artist Arena, declined to comment. The fan sites no longer allow children under 13 to register as members..

The proposed settlement comes at a time when the agency is preparing to extensively strengthen the children’s online privacy protection rule for the first time since its introduction more than a decade ago.

In an effort to keep pace with innovations like mobile apps and facial recognition technology, the agency has proposed to widen both the kinds of data about children that would require parental consent and the kinds of operators — like advertising networks or data miners — whose activities could be subject to the rule.

Last week, major corporations including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Viacom responded, submitting public comments to the F.T.C. in which they argued that some of the proposed changes were so unworkable that they could deter companies from providing sites and online services to children.

“To ensure that the Internet continues to be a robust and enriching place for children, the commission should avoid promulgating rules that frustrate operators’ ability to continue providing the same quantity and quality of sites and online services, including those that are directed to children,” Michael D. Hintze, Microsoft’s chief privacy counsel, wrote in comments to the agency.

But the case of the pop star Web sites bolsters the viability of at least one of the agency’s proposals: that child-friendly sites aimed at audiences of varying ages must either assume all users are under 13, or screen users for age to identify those for whom data collection requires prior parental consent.

Some companies, like Viacom, have objected to this proposed change, saying that such a screening process might cause some sites to block children from participating or deter some children, who might then end up on inappropriate adult sites that do not screen users for age.

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