4 Companies To Stop Tracking Children Online Following $835G Settlement

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — You may want to double check what websites your kids are visiting — some companies could be tracking every move they make online.

As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, a state investigation called ‘Operation Child Tracker’ found companies have been keeping tabs on every click that kids were making.

New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman says he has reached settlements with Viacom, Mattel, Hasbro and Jumpstart Games stopping them from using tracking technology on their popular children’s websites.

“What we found frankly, was shocking. Many of the sites that are home to some of our most popular TV shows and toys were littered with technology that can be used to track every move a child makes on that site,” he said.

The settlements require Viacom, Mattel and Jumpstart to pay penalties totaling $835,000 following a two-year investigation into violations of the 1998 federal law that prohibits unauthorized collection of children’s personal information on websites directed at users under 13. 

Schneiderman says each allowed tracking technology such as cookies on their websites in violation of the law. Such technology can be used by marketers and advertisers.

“In some cases the host companies were not even aware until we told them that the tracking technology was on their sites,” Schneiderman said.

Their websites include Viacom’s Nick Jr. and Nickelodeon; Mattel’s Barbie, Hot Wheels, American Girl, JumpStart’s Neopets, and Hasbro’s My Little Pony, Littlest Pet Shop and Nerf. 

The companies will also be monitored and are now required to vet their vendors, 1010 WINS Juliet Papa reported.

“We have the option of opting into that as adults, but children don’t often understand that. So, I wish they would leave us alone,” parent J.T. Yost said.

Hasbro says it cooperated with investigators, will closely monitor companies working on its behalf and that it is rolling out a stricter online privacy protection policy.

The other companies didn’t immediately reply to requests for comment.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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