Toy maker VTech agrees to pay $650,000 to settle FTC allegations that it violated children’s privacy law

Smart toy maker VTech has agreed to pay a big fine to settle charges brought by the Federal Trade Commission.

The company was accused of illegally collecting kids’ information and failing to protect it from hackers.

In 2015 a hacker broke into VTech’s Learning Lodge apps and accessed information from hundreds of thousands of children.

VTech will pay $650,000 as part of the settlement with the FTC.

The FTC says it’s more important than ever to hold companies accountable as internet-connected toys become more and more popular.

“This settlement highlights, once again, that companies must protect the personal information they collect and store about consumers. This obligation is especially important when you’re talking about personal information collected from children,” said Tom Pahl, Director of FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Here’s what you need to know as a parent:

  • Under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), websites, apps and online services intended for kids under 13 years old must get approval from parents before they can collect, use or disclose children’s personal information.
  • Companies should have a privacy policy that is easy to find and understand.  If it’s not, don’t let your child use it.  The company may be violating COPPA.

If you have any concerns about a company, you can file a complaint with the FTC online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).