As reported by Law360 (subscription), on February 3, 2021, a New Mexico federal judge denied Google’s attempt to dismiss children’s privacy law violation claims against it which were initiated by New Mexico’s attorney general, who accused the internet goliath of facilitating the malicious harvesting of children’s personal info, including physical location, via apps and games, for profit. The complaint alleged that Tiny Lab, which produces games targeted toward children, partnered with companies like Twitter and Google to utilize their advertising services, resulting in conduct that “endangers the children of New Mexico.”
U.S. District Judge Martha Vasquez did agree to reconsider the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) allegations against Google after reviewing the company’s exploration of the intricacies of the law in a recent filing, but rejected Google’s request that the lawsuit be dismissed.
“Reading the COPPA Rule again with the benefit of Google’s more fully developed analysis, the Court agrees that the distinction between apps that target children as their primary audience and those that do not is, in fact, relevant to the actual knowledge inquiry,” Judge Vazquez wrote.
Hector Balderas, the New Mexico attorney general, stated “As children are facing increased safety risks to their cybersecurity, we are pleased with the judge’s ruling and will continue to hold tech companies accountable.”
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