BBB National Programs’ Dona Fraser Reacts to App Developer HyperBeard, Inc.’s Settlement with FTC Regarding Allegations It Illegally Collected Kids’ Data without Parental Consent

Arlington, VA, June 5, 2020 – Dona Fraser, Vice President of BBB National Programs’ Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) today issued the following statement:

“Yesterday’s announcement by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding HyperBeard, Inc.’s alleged violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule (COPPA Rule) demonstrates that when companies choose not to follow self-regulatory principles and procedures, they open the door to significant consequences with a regulatory agency such as the FTC. 

Certainly, when companies find themselves caught in the crosshairs of an investigation by one of BBB National Programs’ self-regulation programs, as HyperBeard did in March 2019, it is not our desire to be punitive in nature, but instead to help them align their practices with established standards for the benefit of their stakeholders. 

Our mission at BBB National Programs is to help such companies adopt best practices to enhance consumer trust. We find that companies respect and participate in the self-regulatory process because they understand that the U.S. economy is built on a fair and transparent marketplace. Our monitoring and enforcement actions within the mobile app environment are a key part of maintaining a level playing field for all businesses, upholding established best practices for data privacy, and ensuring a trustworthy environment for consumers, especially children.  

We are thankful to the FTC for its continued collaboration across CARU, the Digital Advertising Accountability Program (DAAP) and all BBB National Programs’ self-regulatory and dispute resolution efforts.”  

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About the Children’s Advertising Review Unit: The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), a division of BBB National Programs and the nation’s first Safe Harbor Program under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), helps companies comply with laws and guidelines that protect children from deceptive or inappropriate advertising and ensure that, in an online environment, children's data is collected and handled responsibly. When advertising or data collection practices are misleading, inappropriate, or inconsistent with laws and guidelines, CARU seeks change through the voluntary cooperation of companies and where relevant, enforcement action.  

About the Digital Advertising Accountability Program: The Digital Advertising Accountability Program (DAAP), a division of BBB National Programs, was developed by the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) to enforce industry self-regulation principles for data privacy in online and mobile advertising, holding companies accountable to the DAA’s Privacy Principles. DAAP provides guidance to companies looking to comply with industry principles and responds to complaints filed by consumers about online privacy. 

About BBB National Programs:  BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumer trust and consumers are heard. This independent, non-profit organization enhances trust, innovation, and competition in the marketplace through the development and delivery of cost-effective, third-party self-regulation, dispute resolution, and accountability programs. BBB National Programs’ 10 leading industry self-regulation and dispute resolution programs resolve business issues of national and international importance, and fosters industry best practices in truth-in-advertising, child-directed marketing, data privacy, and dispute resolution. To learn more about industry self-regulation, visit bbbprograms.org. 

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