Viacom & Others – Alleged Violation of Privacy Protection Laws
On August 7, 2017, a class action lawsuit was filed in California federal court against Viacom Inc., Viacom International Inc., Upsight, Inc., and Unity Technologies SF
. . . by and on behalf parents of children who, while playing online games via smart phone apps, have had their personally identifying information exfiltrated by Viacom Inc. and its partners, for future commercial exploitation, in direct violation of the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), 15 U.S.C. §§ 6501–6506. Plaintiffs bring claims under state laws to obtain an injunction to cease these practices, sequester illegally obtained information, and damages.
Viacom & Mobile Gaming Apps – Personal Identifying Information of Children Obtained Without Consent
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit allege that the defendants violated privacy protection laws by exporting the personally identifying information of children without parental consent required under federal and state law from, according to the class action complaint, Viacom’s “. . . child-focused gaming app Llama Spit Spit and numerous other games for children on mobile platforms. These apps are often operated by Nickelodeon, a business unit of Viacom Media Networks.”
Viacom Gaming Apps & “Software Development Kits”
The class action complaint alleges that the named software development entity defendants provided their own proprietary computer code, referred to as “software development kits,” to Viacom “for installation and use in Viacom’s gaming apps, including Llama Spit Spit.”
According to the complaint, “[e]ach of the [software development kit] [d]efendants . . . embedded their respective [software development kits] in Viacom’s gaming apps, causing the transmittal of app users’ personally identifying information to the [software development kit] [d]efendants to facilitate subsequent behavioral advertising.”
Llama Spit Spit & Other Gaming Apps Track Their Users
According to the class action complaint:
In addition to Llama Spit Spit, Viacom has developed and marketed other gaming apps which, like Llama Spit Spit, track their users, including: Ballarina – a GAME SHAKERS App, PAW Patrol Pups to the Rescue, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Portal Power, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Brothers Unite, PAW Patrol Rescue Run, Bubble Guppies: A Grumpfish Tale, PAW Patrol Air and Sea Adventures, SpongeBob Bubble Party, Dora Appisode: Perrito’s Big Surprise, Dora Appisode: Check-Up Day!, Dora Appisode: Catch That Shape Train . . .. Viacom offers the Games Tracking Apps for download from Apple’s App Store, Google Play Store, and/or Amazon.
Viacom Collects & Maintains Personal Information
The complaint further alleges that
Viacom collects and maintains personal information about the users of the Game Tracking Apps, including users under the age of 13, and permits the [software development kit] [d]efendants to embed their advertising [software development kits] to collect those users’ personal information and use that information to track those users over time and across different websites and online services.
. . .
Each [software development kit] [d]efendant has a [software development kit] placed in Llama Spit Spit which collects persistent identifiers to track children app users over time and across the internet. In addition to Llama Spit Spit, the other Game Tracking Apps contain [software development kits] that surreptitiously track child users for behavioral advertising, analytics, or both. Llama Spit Spit and the other Game Tracking Apps contain multiple [software development kits], each operating independently from and in concert with one another.
Do You Suspect Child Privacy Violations Associated With Viacom Mobile Gaming Apps?
If your child uses a Viacom mobile gaming app, such as Llama Spit Spit, Ballarina – a GAME SHAKERS App, PAW Patrol Pups to the Rescue, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Portal Power, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Brothers Unite, PAW Patrol Rescue Run, Bubble Guppies: A Grumpfish Tale, PAW Patrol Air and Sea Adventures, SpongeBob Bubble Party, Dora Appisode: Perrito’s Big Surprise, Dora Appisode: Check-Up Day!, and Dora Appisode: Catch That Shape Train, and you suspect your child’s personal information may have been improperly or illegally acquired or used, please complete the form to the right or contact either John Kehoe, Esq., (215) 792-6676, Ext. 801, [email protected]; Michael Yarnoff, Esq., (215) 792-6676, Ext. 804, [email protected]; or send an e-mail to [email protected].
The Kehoe Law Firm, P.C. is a multidisciplinary, plaintiff–side law firm dedicated to protecting investors and consumers from corporate fraud, negligence, and other wrongdoing. Driven by a strong and principled sense of social responsibility and obtaining justice for the aggrieved, Kehoe Law Firm, P.C. represents plaintiffs seeking to recover investment losses resulting from securities fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, corporate wrongdoing or malfeasance, those harmed by anticompetitive practices, and consumers victimized by fraud, negligence, false claims, deception, data breaches or whose rights to minimum wage and overtime compensation under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage and hour laws have been violated.