Rovio Entertainment, the developer of the famous Arcade-style game Angry Birds, has had a lawsuit filed against them by the Attorney General of New Mexico. The State of New Mexico Ex Rel. Hector Balderas, Attorney General v. Rovio Entertainment Corporation, is filed in the District Court of New Mexico and is based on violating child privacy laws, including collecting and selling personal data of children under 13 years of age.
Attorney General Hector Balderas filed this lawsuit against Rovio Entertainment for breaching the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, also known as COPPA. It provides a mandate for taking permission of the parents or the concerned legal guardian of a child under 13 years of age to collect any personal information related to such a child. The companies are also obligated to make sure that any such data of the mentioned age group is not collected otherwise.
The statements made by Attorney General mentioned that Rovio Entertainment targets the young audience through in-game goods, merchandise, and external media. He further mentions that Rovio Entertainment, through their game Angry Birds targets the young audience and monetize by "surreptitiously exfiltrating their personal information while playing Angry Birds." He further said that the information is being used for commercial exploitation by using this data for wider marketing of products that targets the children, and it is happening without the knowledge of these children's parents.
The state has asked the court to issue a permanent injunction or give a warning to Rovio Entertainment to not repeat such violations in the future and also solve the ongoing violation, as stated by Balders. It also includes legal fees, civil penalties, damages, and compensation on behalf of the residents of New Mexico and punitive damages, among others. According to the Balderas, they, that is, the state of New Mexico, "will always hold companies accountable that risk the safety of children" and thus, the lawsuit.
As of now, Rovio Entertainment has not made any official statement about this lawsuit. The statements that will be made by the company are most likely going to affect future events.