Privacy Tip #311 – New Mexico AG Serious About Children’s Privacy Protections

New Mexico’s Attorney General, Hector Balderas, continues to champion children’s online privacy protections, this time settling with Google over alleged violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

We previously reported that the AG sued Rovio Entertainment, the maker of Angry Birds, alleging that it violated COPPA by collecting data on players under the age of 13 and disclosing that information to advertisers.

General Balderas is on a roll, having just announced a settlement of two lawsuits against Google for violations of COPPA. The lawsuits were filed in 2018 and alleged that Google (and other tech companies) collected personal information from children under the age of 13 when they downloaded free games from Google Play.

The settlement requires Google to pay $3.85 million to create the “Google New Mexico Kids Initiative,” which will promote privacy, education, and safety for children in New Mexico. According to AG Balderas, “There are incredible risks lurking online and we should do everything we can to protect the privacy of children. I’m pleased that we demanded Google put the safety of our school children first and that we’re able to partner with Google in our shared commitment to innovation and education, putting these funds where they can do the most good.”

For its part, in addition to creating the Kids Initiative, Google has agreed to provide school administrators with tools to assist students with protecting their personal information and to actively police app developers so they do not collect information from children under the age of 13 without parental consent.

The New Mexico AG is making a name for himself in the area of children’s privacy. We will keep following his progress and see if any other AGs follow his lead.