June 18, 2019

Ukraine-based online dating app operator receives warning letter from the FTC

On May 1, 2019, the Division of Privacy and Identity Protection of the US Federal Trade Commission sent a letter to Wildec LLC, warning the company that several of the mobile dating applications it operates appear to be in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), 15 USC § 6501 et seq. The letter explains that COPPA requires covered companies to obtain parental consent before collecting personal information from children under the age of 13, and to include certain information in their privacy policies.  According to the FCT letter, Wildec’s dating web apps solicit the user’s date of birth, photograph, email address and other information; and although the apps state that users under 13 are not allowed, those who indicate they are below this age are nevertheless not prevented from accessing the apps, and from using them to publish photographs and other information about themselves. The FTC found this to be a violation of COPPA and its implementing rule, and suggests that the practice of allowing children to create public dating profiles could be deemed to violate Section 5(n) of the Federal Trade Commission Act. The FTC urged Wildec to ensure that all of its apps are COPPA-compliant, and that children’s personal information be removed from the service.  The FTC said that it would be reviewing Wildec’s mobile apps within a month.

FTC warning letter