Disney / Playdom reaches $3 million settlement in children's privacy case

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If you've been one to question whether your information is safe online, then heads-up. Playdom (now owned by Disney) has reached a $3 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in a case concerning the US Child Online Privacy Protection Act.

Before Playdom acquired Acclaim back in 2010, the company ran a game called Pony Stars, which has since closed down. During its run however, the game drew in more than 821,000 youngsters, with the FTC accusing Acclaim (and subsequently now Playdom and Disney) of collecting kids' ages and email addresses, and then posting that information live without parental consent. Another 403,000 children posted their information on other social sites run by the company. While this is of course disheartening to hear, it seems like after Acclaim was purchased by Playdom last year, that this was more of an oversight than an intentional practice, as Kotaku notes that a report claimed that this was in violation of Playdom's own internal policies.

While this case deals primarily with childrens' privacy, hopefully the high price tag on the settlement will make other social game developers take note. Online privacy is a huge deal, and if you violate users' trust, be prepared to pay the price.

Does hearing about this violation make you change your thoughts about Playdom or Disney's games? Do you allow your children to play online games, or do you keep them from the online space due to issues such as these? Sound off in the comments.
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