Angry Birds maker Rovio Entertainment sued over violation of child privacy

Rovio accused of "surreptitiously exfiltrating the children's personal information while playing Angry Birds"

The extremely popular arcade game Angry Birds developer has gotten a lawsuit filed against them brought in by the Attorney General of New Mexico. Rovio Entertainment is being sued over violation of child privacy laws, which entails allegations of collecting and selling data of children under 13 years of age.

On Wednesday, Attorney General Hector Balderas filed a federal lawsuit and accused Rovio of breaching the COPPA or the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. Under the laws of COPPA, companies are supposed to get the permission of the concerned guardian or the parents before collecting any personal information about the child if he/she is 13 or younger. The companies are also required to implement measures to make sure that the data of any person of the mentioned age range isn’t collected. 

Rovio endangers the children of New Mexico, undermines the ability of their parents to protect children and their privacy, and violates state and federal law.

Hector Balderas

According to the statements made by Hector Balderas, Rovio supposedly targets young children via the sale of in-game goods, merchandise, and external media. Balderas further accuses Rovio and their game Angry Birds, which targets a younger audience, of monetizing the children by “surreptitiously exfiltrating their personal information while playing Angry Birds” and using the information for commercial exploitation by using the data for wider marketing of products targeting children and catering it without the parents’ knowledge.

Angry Birds Journey
Image via Rovio Entertainment

The State has asked the court to issue a permanent injunction or warning against the Finnish developers to prevent further violations in the future and to solve the ongoing issues as stated by Balderas. It also includes civil penalties, legal fees, damages and compensation on behalf of the residents of New Mexico, and punitive damages among others. According to the Balderas, they, that is, the state of New Mexico “will always hold companies accountable that risk the safety of children” and thus, the lawsuit.

As of now, there has been no official reply from Rovio Entertainment regarding the lawsuit. Future events will likely be affected by the statements the company might make.

What are your thoughts on Rovio being sued over violation of child privacy? Drop your opinions in the comments!

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