Games Radar has a bit of a legal problem this morning.
As reported by Kotaku, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R, left) has sued the popular, California-based website in Federal District Court. Abbott alleges that Games Radar is violating the 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
…Greg Abbott today took legal action against two Web sites that cater to children but fail to adequately protect their privacy and safety. Texas is the first state to file an enforcement action under [COPPA]…
[the sites] unlawfully collect personal information… from children. Investigators also discovered that the sites’ parental consent features were easily manipulated and circumvented. The lack of reasonable controls readily allow children to access the sites’ various features, including interactive chat rooms and forums, without their parents’ knowledge.
These defendants are charged with operating child-oriented Web sites that violate the law by failing to protect young users… [my office] will continue aggressively enforcing laws to protect young Internet users…
GP: The outcome of this legal action will probably cause other game content sites to review their situation vis-a-vis COPPA. Among Abbott’s charges against Games Radar is an allegation that the site caters to younger readers via reviews and discussion forums on kid-oriented titles like Pokemon, but also allows them to access reviews and features on more mature-themed games.
UPDATE: Future US, which owns Games Radar, has responded to the Texas suit.