Advertised as a weight management service for kids, teens, and families, the Kurbo by WW app and website let kids as young as 8 track their weight, food intake, activity, and more. The problem? Many parents didn’t know their kids were using it, while the app and website were collecting and keeping information about kids without their parents’ permission.
Today the Department of Justice and FTC announced that Kurbo and its parent company WW International (formerly Weight Watchers) have agreed to settle charges they collected personal information from kids under 13 without notifying parents or getting their permission — something the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA Rule) requires. That personal information included name, phone number, birth date, and persistent identifiers, including device IDs corresponding to specific accounts.
To settle the charges, the companies have agreed to pay a $1.5 million civil penalty, delete all personal information collected from kids under 13 without parental permission, and destroy any algorithms that used this illegally collected information. In the future, they must destroy any information they collect from kids under 13 if it’s been more than a year since the kid used their app.