Fan Sites for Pop Singers Settle Children’s Privacy Charges

The operator of fan Web sites for pop stars Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Rihanna and Demi Lovato agreed to pay a $1 million civil penalty to settle federal charges that the sites had illegally collected personal information about thousands of young children, the Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday.

Artist Arena, a company that operates fan web sites for pop stars like Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, agreed to settle federal charges that the sites had violated a children’s privacy protection law.

In a complaint, the Federal Trade Commission alleged that Artist Arena, the operator of the sites, had violated a children’s online privacy rule by collecting personal details — like the names, e-mail addresses, street addresses and cellphone numbers — of about 101,000 children aged 12 or younger without their parents’ permission.

The law, called the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA for short, requires operators of Web sites to notify parents and obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting, using or disclosing personal information about children younger than 13.

The sites are BieberFever.com, SelenaGomez.com, RihannaNow.com and DemiLovatoFanClub.net. The agency did not accuse the pop stars themselves of any wrongdoing.

At a conference on children’s marketing in New York on Wednesday, Edith Ramirez, a member of the F.T.C., said the settlement still needs to be ratified in court.

Read entire article published by the New York Times October 3, 2012