Morris Manning & Martin, LLP

Game Developer Settles with the FTC, Warns Other Developers

12.17.2015

Atlanta (Dec. 17, 2015) – The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reached a settlement (pending court approval) with game developer Retro Dreamer regarding alleged violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protections Act (COPPA). COPPA prohibits operators of mobile apps, websites and other online services from collecting personal information from children under 13, unless the operator first obtains verifiable parental consent.

While the settlement does not constitute an admission by Retro Dreamer that it violated COPPA, the company does hope the settlement will educate other app developers, particularly smaller independent developers, of risks they may face. Retro Dreamer also would like to assure its users that their privacy has been, and will remain, a paramount concern.

Retro Dreamer would like to emphasize some important points concerning the settlement.

◼ Retro Dreamer never knowingly collected personal information from children.

◼ Third-party advertising networks utilized “persistent identifiers” (e.g., a cookie, IP address, unique device identifiers) across a variety of apps developed by a number of companies, including Retro Dreamer, to deliver customized advertising to users. (The FTC alleged the third-party use of persistent identifiers through Retro Dreamer’s apps violated COPPA.)

◼ While Retro Dreamer integrated third-party advertiser software development kits into its apps, it never directly collected nor utilized persistent identifiers from its users.

◼ The FTC characterized certain Retro Dreamer apps as child-directed, although Retro Dreamer created the apps for, and marketed them to, for a general audience.

◼ The FTC did not inform Retro Dreamer that it was treating certain apps as child-directed until making the demand that resulted in the settlement. Retro Dreamer no longer permits third-party advertisers to use persistent identifiers for customized ads in apps potentially identifiable as child-directed. It has also updated its privacy policy to maximize clarity for users concerning its information and data collection practices.

Developers of apps intended for a general audience, but potentially identifiable as child-directed by the FTC, should consider proactively removing targeted advertising to avoid an inadvertent COPPA violation. Retro Dreamer has instituted this step into its development process, and remains fully committed to making quality games for users of all ages.

The settlement was obtained with the assistance of Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP.

About Retro Dreamer

Since 2008, Retro Dreamer has created quality independent games for iOS and Android mobile devices. Based in Los Angeles, California, Retro Dreamer has recently expanded its projects to other platforms.

About Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP

Morris, Manning & Martin (www.mmmlaw.com) is an AmLaw 200 law firm with national and international reach. We dedicate ourselves to the constant pursuit of our clients’ success. To provide our clients with optimal value, we combine market-leading legal services with a total understanding of their needs to maximize effectiveness, efficiency and opportunity. MMM enjoys national prominence for its real estate, corporate, litigation, technology, healthcare, intellectual property, energy & infrastructure, capital markets, environmental, international trade, insurance, and timberland & forest products practices. MMM has offices in Atlanta, Raleigh-Durham, Savannah, Taipei, Beijing and Washington, D.C. and an alliance with GCN in São Paulo, Brazil.

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Inquiries Concerning FTC Settlement: Steven Pritchett at Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP, (404) 233-7000, [email protected]

All Other Inquiries: [email protected]