CDD Pushes FTC To Look at Disney Sites

The Center for Digital Democracy says Disney has not resolved the issues that made the group ask the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the company’s privacy policies. It now wants the FTC to investigate that alleged failure, as well as all of Disney's child-directed sites for alleged violations of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.

Disney says that group is trying to grab headlines with false charges.

CDD complained back in December that was collecting and sharing kids online information in violation of the revised COPPA.

At the time of the complaint, CDD said, which is owned by Disney, hadn't updated its privacy policy to comply with COPPA, and wanted the FTC to investigate and take whatever action is necessary to bring it into compliance.

CDD concedes that Disney did change its policy soon after its December complaint, but says it is still not in compliance because its notice about information collection practices is insufficient in a couple of ways. "First, the privacy policy link does not take the parent directly to Disney’s Children’s Online Policy. Second, several of the links are not 'clear and prominent,'" CDD says. CDD also says third parties are allowed to collect personal info from kids, also in violation of COPPA.

Because those policies aren't confined to, CDD wants the FTC to investigate all of Disney's child-directed sites.

“In an all too familiar and disappointing pattern, CDD once again seeks to garner headlines at the expense of the facts," said a Disney spokesperson. "Disney’s privacy policies and practices respect and protect kids and parents and our websites are specifically designed to easily and effectively arm parents with the information they need to keep their kids safe online. In short, there is simply no truth to any of the claims made by the CDD.”

"How do they explain that it was only after we filed our December 2013 complaint they updated the MarvelKids site to reflect the FTC COPPA rules that went into effect last July," responds CDD's Jeff Chester. "Instead of admitting they are wrong, Disney is trying to cover up."

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.