Nickelodeon: 'SpongeBob' Squares with Privacy Protections

Nickelodeon says it has vetted its SpongeBob Diner Dash mobile app game and it does not collect personally identifiable info.

The game earlier this week was the target of a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission alleging that it violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act by collecting that info but not informing parents it was doing so.

"After an initial investigation and thorough review of our SpongeBob Diner Dash mobile application, we can confirm that no names, email addresses or other personally identifiable information were collected, and, therefore, we believe that no violation of COPPA occurred," said the company in a statement. "The optional email prompt to receive a newsletter was a template function from the developer that was never operational in this app, and no email addresses or personally identifiable information were collected.

"Nickelodeon has long prided itself as being a leader in COPPA compliance, and we are looking forward to maintaining that leadership position in the industry as the FTC unveils its updated guidelines."

The company also said that the game's prompt for a player to enter his or her name is simply to allow for saving of an individual game in progress and resides locally on the device rather than a server.

The Federal Trade Commission is releasing changes/clarifications to its enforcement to COPPA on Wednesday  to reflect the rise of mobile and online gaming and marketing.

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.