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AOL To Pay State $5M Fine In Largest Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Penalty Ever

America Online.
America Online. Photo Credit: File

The company that was once AOL will pay nearly $5 million for violating children’s privacy rights.

Oath Inc., formerly known as AOL, has agreed to a record settlement for $4.95 million, the largest penalty ever levied in a Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA).

The settlement came after the company conduction billions of auctions with targeted ads on hundreds of children’s websites, violating COPPA.

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood said that her office found that AOL conducted billions of auctions for ad space on hundreds of websites the company knew were directed to children under the age of 13.

Through these auctions, AOL collected, used, and disclosed personal information from the websites’ users in violation of COPPA, enabling advertisers to track and serve targeted ads to young children.

The company has agreed to adopt comprehensive reforms to protect children from improper tracking and pay a record $4.95 million in penalties, the largest penalty ever in a COPPA enforcement matter in U.S. history.

“COPPA is meant to protect young children from being tracked and targeted by advertisers online. AOL flagrantly violated the law – and children’s privacy – and will now pay the largest-ever penalty under COPPA,” Underwood stated. “My office remains committed to protecting children online and will continue to hold accountable those who violate the law.”

“We are pleased to see this matter resolved and remain wholly committed to protecting children’s privacy online,” an Oath spokesperson said in a statement.

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