Justin Bieber’s fan website agreed to pay $1 million to settle charges that it illegally collected personal information from more than 100,000 children. The company also creates fan websites for Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, and Rihanna. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) accused Artist Arena LLC of neglecting to obtain parental consent before grabbing the names and addresses of children who visited the Justin Bieber fan website.
FTC spokeswoman Claudio Bourne Farrell noted that Artist Arena LLC agreed to settle the matter for $1 million, but a judge must first sign off on the deal, the Daily Mail reports. The children who reportedly had their private information stored by the Bieber website are age 12 and younger, The Hill reports.
Under the Children’s Online Privacy Act (COPRA) websites are mandated to give special treatment to children age 12 and younger before collecting and storing personal information. Children who registered on the fan website instantly became members of Bieber Fever. When the registration link was tested after the FTC complaint, tweens and children could no longer gain access to membership.
The Federal Trade Commission is currently in the process of updating guidelines which restrict companies from targeting youth or are designed to attracted younger audiences. The Justin Bieber fan website complaint comes on the heels of a $22.5 million Google settlement. The online giant was accused of breaking a privacy promise by secretly following millions of internet users that utilized the Safari browser. While Google did cough up a significant sum of money, the company did not admit to any wrongdoing in the case.
Justin Bieber has not yet issued a comment about the collection of children’s personal information on his fan website.