p2pnet news view | Kids & Kartels:- Rootkit spyware company Sony BMG Music Entertainment will pay $1 million to settle a US Federal Trade Commission action which claims it violated the rights of young children online.
“In fact, Sony Music accepted registrations from children who entered a date of birth indicating that they were under 13,” it says.
As well as paying the million dollars, Sony has to, “provide resources to parents and their children about children’s privacy in general, and social networking sites in particular, the order requires Sony Music to link to certain FTC consumer education materials for the next five years,” says the FTC.
It also has to include a link to the children’s privacy section of the Commission’s www.ftc.gov Web site on any site it operates that is subject to COPPA.
“In addition, Sony Music must include links to the social networking section of the Commission’s www.onguardonline.gov web site on any of its sites that offer users the opportunity to create publicly viewable profiles,” says the statement.
Sony BMG Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, operates more than 1,000 Web sites for its musical artists and labels, says the FTC continuing »»»
Sony Music requires users to submit a broad range of personal information, together with date of birth, in order to register for these sites.
On 196 of these sites, Sony Music knowingly collected personal information from at least 30,000 underage children without first obtaining their parents’ consent, in violation of COPPA. Many of these sites also enable children to create personal fan pages, review artists’ albums, upload photos or videos, post comments on message boards and in online forums, and engage in private messaging.
In this way, children were able to interact with Sony Music fans of all ages, including adults.
“Sites with social networking features, like any Web sites, need to get parental consent before collecting kids’ personal information,” said FTC chairman William E. Kovacic.
COPPA prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices in connection with the collection, use, or disclosure of personally identifiable information from, and about, children under 13 online. Operators must notify parents and get their consent before collecting, using, or disclosing children’s personal information.
The FTC complaint says Sony Music violated COPPA by failing to provide sufficient notice on the Sony Music Web sites of what information the company collects online from children, how it uses such information, and its disclosure practices; failing to provide direct notice to parents of Sony Music`s information practices; failing to obtain verifiable parental consent; and, failing to provide a reasonable means for parents to review the personal information collected from their children and to refuse to permit its further use or maintenance.
‘Business as Usual’
The news of Sony BMG’s latest perfidy will come as no surprise to Netizens.
The company’s hypocrisy and dirty dealings are legend.
It’s never been able to live down its efforts to steal personal and private information from people who bought its music CDs.
It hid root kits spyware on the discs. The software was then secretly installed on computers, putting them at risk as well.
Public outrage forced it to abandon the spyware, but that didn’t stop it.
“Is it possible?” – p2pnet wondered. “Could Sony be stupid enough to get itself involved in another rootkit scandal?”
If Finland`s if F-Secure is correct, the answer to both questions is Yes, we said, going on:
“Years after Mark Russinovich and F-Secure separately caught Sony red-handed secretly installing dangerous DRM spyware in the computers of people who’d bought its music CDs, Sony is at it again, blogs F-Secure‘s Mikko Hyponnen.
” ‘Monday’s post disclosed our investigation of Sony`s MicroVault USM-F fingerprint reader software,’ he says, going on, ‘Sony`s software installs a driver that creates a hidden folder using rootkit techniques’.”
It’s also one of the Hollywood studios which complain they’re being “devastated” by people who use miniature video recorders to ‘steal’ feature movies.
Sony actively makes and markets miniature video recorders.
Stay tuned for the next installment of ‘How Sony’s Practice of Screwing Its Customers is just Business as Usual’.
No doubt there’s a line in the latest ‘agreement’ saying something like, ‘In making the settlement, Sony BMG does not admit it did anything wrong’.
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statement – Company Will Pay $1 Million Civil Penalty, December 11, 2008
p2pnet wondered – New Sony rootkit scandal?, August 29, 2008
separately caught Sony red-handed – New: Sony BMG rootkit DRM, November 1, 2005
F-Secure – Sony`s USB Rootkit vs Sony`s Music Rootkit, August 29, 2007
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