CARU: SmartWatch Maker Tick Talk Violated COPPA

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The TickTalk 4 smart watch/phone and app are in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), according to the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of BBB National Programs. The company said it would take corrective measures.

CARU is a self-regulatory body, but if the Federal Trade Commission also concludes the company violated COPPA, it could take legal action.

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CARU said that Tick Talk Tech, which produces the watch, violated CARU's online privacy protection guidelines. Companies who stay within the guidelines are considered to be in compliance with COPPA because those guidelines are an FTC-approved safe harbor program.

But according to CARU, Tick Talk Tech's privacy policy did not provide "clear and complete, and non-confusing" on the information the device collects from children, did not display the information prominently, and did not provide "a means for verifiable parental consent" to the collection.

In addition, there was no direct notice of information collection that COPPA requires.

Also: CARU Concludes Discord is in Accord with COPPA

And if that were not enough, CARU said the company's "privacy policy, terms of service, and other online statements included inconsistent, confusing and/or contradictory statements about its collection, use, or disclosure of children’s personal information."

CARU said the company must revise the web site and app to provide clear, complete, and conspicuous information on information collection and an "unavoidable means" to obtain parental consent.

Tick Talk provided a compliance plan. ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.