"Hooked on Phonics" Firm Settles FTC Privacy Charges
“It’s simple — if you collect information and promise not to share, you can’t share unless the consumer agrees,” said Howard Beales, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “You can change the rules, but not after the game has been played.”
The FTC charges are especially sensitive because they involve disclosure of information about children. The agency said Gateway had promised not to reveal personally identifiable information about children under 13 for any purpose. Then, in April 2003, the FTC says Gateway rented personal information including: people’s names, addresses, phone numbers, and the age ranges and gender of their children.
The settlement with the FTC is subject to a public comment period, after which the Commission will determine whether to make it final.