CDD Files Complaint Against SpongeBob

For the second time in as many weeks, the
Center for Digital Democracy has filed a complaint at the Federal Trade
Commission over mobile aps, this time against Viacom and mobile game creator
PlayFirst for a game featuring Nickelodeon's iconic character, SpongeBob

wants the FTC to take action against the company for its Diner Dash game, which
the group says violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.

argue that while the game is free, it is designed to encourage kids to buy
upgrades and say the game's privacy policy claims the apps data-collection
squares with COPPA, when it doesn't. "The SpongeBob Diner Dash game asks
children to provide a wide range of personal information, including full name,
email address, and other online contact information, without providing notice
to parents or obtaining prior parental consent, as required by the Children's
Online Privacy Protection Act," they say in the complaint, "nor does
the app provide an adequate description of the personal information it collects
or how it is used."

complaint, and a similar one filed last week against mobile game company,Mobbles Corp.,
come on the even of the FTC's expected announcement of changes to its COPPA
enforcement to increase the information treated as sensitive personal info and
otherwise toughen the rules for the digital marketing age.

and other groups also filed a complaint last August against Viacom for what it
said were COPPA violations stemming from viral marketing. A complaint does not
mean the companies have necessarily violated the law or that the FTC will take

"We were just made aware of this complaint from press reports filed this morning and are currently investigating it," said Nickelodeon.

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.