Epic Games slapped with hefty fines for alleged children’s privacy violation

05 February 2023

Epic Games slapped with hefty fines for alleged children’s privacy violation

Epic Games will pay $520 million to settle charges that it improperly gathered the personal information of children and deceived consumers into completing purchases, the Federal Trade Commission and the business announced.

It will pay a $275 million fine for violating children’s privacy legislation, and it will implement strict default privacy settings for youngsters. According to the FTC, Epic Games will also pay $245 million to reimburse individuals deceived into making unintended transactions by so-called “dark patterns.”

FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan stated that Epic utilized privacy-invasive default settings and deceptive interfaces to fool Fortnite users, especially minors.

The announcement comes as the agency has assumed a more robust role in regulating the gaming sector, lodging a lawsuit against Microsoft’s $69 billion offer to acquire Activision last week.

Epic announced in a statement on Monday that it has eliminated pay-to-win and pay-to-progress mechanisms for two-player competitions, as well as random item loot boxes for 2019. Additionally, it stated that it would implement an explicit yes/no option to save payment information.

It was stated that reimbursements might be requested by credit card. “If a cardholder discovers an unauthorized transaction on their account, they can contact their bank to have it reversed,” the business said in a statement.

To safeguard minors, Epic has included parental restrictions that are easier to use, a PIN requirement for parents to authorize transactions, and a daily spending cap for children under 13.

The FTC stated that Epic workers had raised worry regarding the company’s default settings for youngsters, stating that voice chat should be opt-in only. Voice and text chat must be disabled by default under the FTC.

Children’s privacy activists were pleased with the settlement, with Jeff Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy stating that “with this enforcement of the federal children’s data privacy statute (COPPA), children’s data privacy rights should be better protected.”

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