BBB National Programs Archive

 

CARU Recommends Neomara Modify Website To Better Protect Children’s Privacy; Company Agrees To Do So

New York, NY – August 12, 2009 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that Neomara Technology, which operates the Website www.puzzlepixies.com, modify the site to better protect children’s privacy.

CARU, the children’s advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, monitors Websites for compliance with CARU’s Self-Regulatory Program for Children’s Advertising, including guidelines on Online Privacy Protection, as well as with the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act COPPA).

 

The Website is an activities site for children ranging from pre-school to 10 years and up.  The homepage also features news, games, jokes, and an online painting program that allows children to submit their paintings.

When CARU first reviewed the Website, children were able to submit a painting through an online painting program. They were asked to enter artist, age, town/city, and country. In the artist field, a user could enter a first and last name.  Additionally, the “Contact Us” page invited children to “contact the administrator to report any problems, suggest new content, or just for a chat!”  Children were able to send an email with their name, email address, message subject, and message. 

 

After reviewing the site for compliance with CARU’s Guidelines and COPPA, CARU was concerned that the Website allowed children under 13 to disclose personally identifiable information without any prior parental consent.

In response to CARU’s inquiry, the operator explained that the artist’s name, age, city, and country fields were used solely for attributing the picture to the artist. The operator “town/city” field, and also replaced the “artist” field with “first name.”  The operator stated that each picture submitted is hand checked and any information included on the picture itself that would allow a child to be located such as address, post code, email address, or telephone number, is deleted. 

The operator also revised the “contact us” page to eliminate the collection of names and email addresses and stated that all PII is deleted after the email is received.

The company, in its operator’s statement, said that CARU “provided practical advice which has allowed me to modify the Website in order to ensure compliancy.  I have accepted fully their concerns with respect to COPPA and their guidelines and have modified PuzzlePixies.com as described.”