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FTC has looked into Epic's handling of children's personal information

Testimony in Apple suit indicates federal regulator has taken an interest in Fortnite publisher's privacy practices

An Epic Games executive revealed today that the company has caught the eye of the Federal Trade Commission when it comes to privacy practices.

In testimony during the company's court case against Apple today, Epic's head of business and strategy for online services Thomas Ko was asked about security of customer information.

While security for such things was handled by a different division within Epic, Ko said he was a stakeholder and would be aware of such problems.

When asked if Epic ever had any issues with improperly collecting or using information about customers under the age of 13, Ko said he didn't recall.

Apple's lawyer followed up, "You don't recall if you've heard about that or not?"

Ko answered, "I was part of the attorney privileged team that are handling requests from the FTC, but that was it."

The lawyer then told the judge he had further questions on the subject but suggested they be asked during a sealed session not open to the public.

An Epic representative declined to comment for, referring us instead to Ko's testimony.

A representative with the FTC also declined to comment.

The FTC is responsible for enforcement of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), a law that requires those who run online services to obtain parental consent before collecting children's person information and to limit the scope of the information they collect as much as possible, among other things.

A number of gaming and technology companies have settled FTC COPPA charges in the past decade, including Miniclip, HyperBeard, TikTok, RockYou, and TinyCo. In 2019, Google agreed to pay a $170 million civil penalty to settle allegations of COPPA violations by YouTube.

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Brendan Sinclair avatar
Brendan Sinclair: Brendan joined in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot.
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