WW International agrees to pay $1.5 million over allegations of illegally collecting data on minors

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Overview of complaints relating to the collection of data on minors WW International:

  • WHO: WW International and Kurbo Inc. have agreed to a $1.5 million settlement following a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complaint.
  • Why: The FTC says the companies unlawfully collected data from underage users without first notifying their parents or obtaining their consent.
  • Or: The lawsuit was filed in federal court in California.

WW International – formerly Weight Watchers – has agreed to pay $1.5 million to resolve Federal Trade Commission (FTC) claims that it unlawfully collected data from underage users of its Kurbo program.

WW International, with its subsidiary Kurbo Inc., has also agreed to delete all personal information collected without parental consent from thousands of underage users lest they give notice and obtain parental consent for use in 30 days, reports Law360.

The FTC accused WW International and Kurbo of violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and Section 5 of the FTC Act due to alleged data collection practices for users of the Kurbo program under the age of 13.

WW International neither provided notice for the data collection nor received parental consent before doing so while retaining the information “indefinitely,” the FTC said in a lawsuit filed alongside the proposed settlement and on behalf of the department. American Justice.

In addition to paying the civil penalty and deleting the data, WW International and Kurbo will also be required to delete any patterns or algorithms used to collect the data and ensure that parents are notified in advance of any collection of data on minors in the future, reports Law360.

“Since at least 2014, the defendants have been offering weight management services to children online and collecting and storing personal information from these children without notice or obtaining parental consent, as required by the COPPA rule,” said the FTC said in its complaint. “The rule is intended to protect the safety and privacy of children online, and defendants’ failure to comply with its requirements is particularly problematic given the sensitive nature of the service offered by defendants.”

WW International, Kurbo collected information without consent

Despite COPPA regulations, the FTC alleges that WW International and Kurbo collected children’s names, email addresses and other personally identifying information without notifying or obtaining parental consent.

The Kurbo weight loss management program originally launched in 2014 as a service for teens, children and families and was later renamed after WW International acquired the company in 2018, according to the FTC.

A separate class action lawsuit was filed against Weight Watchers in 2020 by a customer claiming the company continued to charge monthly membership fees despite the cancellation of in-person meetings due to the pandemic.

Has your underage child used the WW International Kurbo Weight Loss Program? Let us know in the comments!

The FTC is represented by Brian M. Boynton, Gustav W. Eyler, Lisa K. Hsiao, Rachel L. Doud, Zachary L. Cowan of the United States Department of Justice Consumer Protection Branch and Stephanie M. Hinds, Michelle Lo and Sharanya Mohan. of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California.

the FTC WW International Complaint Regarding Kurbo’s Collection of Underage Data East United States of America v. Kurbo Inc., et al.Case No. 3:22-cv-00946, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

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