Microsoft has to pay $20 million to settle US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that the tech company illegally collected personal information from children without their parents’ consent, the FTC said on June 5.
The company had been charged with violating the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by collecting personal information from children who signed up to its Xbox gaming system without notifying their parents or obtaining their parents’ consent, and by retaining children’s personal information, the statement from the FTC said.
The order requires the tech giant to take steps to improve privacy protections for child users of its Xbox system. It will extend COPPA protections to third-party gaming publishers with whom Microsoft shares children’s data, the FTC added.
The law requires online services and websites directed to children under the age of 13 to notify parents about the personal information they collect and to obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting and using any personal information about them.
From 2015 to 2020, Microsoft retained the data that it collected from children during the account creation process, even when a parent failed to complete the process, according to the complaint.