BBB National Programs Archive

 

CARU Recommends UV Entertainment Modify Child-Directed Website To Better Protect Children’s Privacy

New York, NY – Dec. 17, 2009 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CARU) has recommended that UV Entertainment, LLC, operator of the Myuville Website, www.myuville.com, take steps to better protect the privacy of children who visit the site. The company has agreed to do so.

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 came to the attention of CARU through CARU’s routine monitoring of the Internet. Myuville is an online virtual world geared toward children, where visitors can create avatars, play games, chat with friends via a menu chat feature, create a personalized profile known as a “UBook”, and explore “UVille”- the virtual community. 

Upon its initial review of the site, CARU was concerned that the site allowed the collection and retention of personally identifiable information (PII) from children under the age of 13 without parental consent and did not have a comprehensive and accurate privacy policy.

CARU determined that registrants were required to submit a username, password and birthdate and that registrants under the age of 13 were then able to immediately enter and participate in the site’s activities, even though the site did not provide parents with notice. 

CARU found that once registered, participants could set up Ubook accounts and personal profile pages, and post information that might include a full name, city of residence, or parents’ full names.  While the UBook pages were not accessible to other users, CARU found that the page and the information it contained appeared to be retained by UV.

The Myuville privacy policy did not explain or describe the collection of PII from children under 13.  In addition, the policy did not provide corporate contact information. 

In response to CARU’s concerns, the site operator agreed to modify the registration and Ubook policies to avoid collecting personal information of any kind.  To this end, UV committed to removing fields from the registration and Ubook pages that had collected personal information.

The operator also agreed to include language to its privacy policy that would explain its practices toward children under 13.  In addition, UV committed to include corporate contact information in the privacy policy.

UV, in its operator’s statement, said the company agreed with CARU’s determinations and is “making the necessary changes to be in full compliance.”