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Security flaws at RockYou site exposed information of 32 million users

Consumer Reports News: March 27, 2012 03:38 PM

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The operator of social game site RockYou has agreed to settle charges that it failed to protect user privacy, allowing hackers to access the e-mail addresses and e-mail passwords of 32 million users, including children.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, many consumers used RockYou to make slide shows from their personal photos. To save the slides, they had to enter an e-mail and e-mail password.

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act Rule requires that website operators notify parents and obtain consent before they collect, use, or disclose personal information from children under 13. The FTC alleged that RockYou knowingly collected approximately 179,000 children's email addresses and passwords during registration, without their parents' consent. The company asked for childrens' date of birth, and so accepted registrations from children under 13.

The COPPA Rule also requires that website operators post a privacy policy that is clear and complete. The FTC settlement order bars future deceptive claims by RockYou regarding privacy, and requires it implement data security, as well as pay a $250,000 penalty.

For tips on how you can best protect your privacy while online see our guide to online security. Plus our security software Ratings (available to subscribers).

Previously: New FTC privacy proposal unveiled today calls for added consumer protection online

FTC Charges That Security Flaws in RockYou Game Site Exposed 32 Million Email Addresses and Passwords [FTC]

Maggie Shader

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