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Disney-owned company to pay $3M to settle FTC case

WASHINGTON — An online gaming company owned by Walt Disney Co. is paying $3 million to settle federal charges that it illegally collected and disclosed personal information from hundreds of thousands of children under age 13 without their parents’ consent.

The Federal Trade Commission says the settlement with Playdom Inc. represents the largest civil penalty ever for a violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

The FTC alleges Playdom collected children’s ages and email addresses during registration and allowed children to post their names, email addresses, instant messenger IDs and location on personal profile pages and in online community forums. Between 2006 and 2010, about 403,000 children registered with Playdom’s general sites, and 821,000 registered with its Pony Stars children’s site, the FTC said.

Disney acquired Playdom in August 2010.