If you’re a Justin Bieber or Selena Gomez fan born in the late 1990s, you may have given your personal information out to people who aren’t allowed to have it. (Also, you may have just made us feel really old, but we’ll have to deal with that issue on our own.)
As part of its normal business operations, Artist Arena, the company the runs the fansites for tween-friendly artists like Bieber, Gomez and Demi Lovato, routinely collects the email addresses and cell phone numbers of its members. Normally, this is totally fine! But in the interest of protecting children from online predators, businesses need parental permission before gathering the personal information of any fans who are under the age of 13. That’s where Artist Arena let off a big ol’ “Nope, too hard!” and just went ahead and collected the info anyway. Because what’s a little privacy between a faceless entertainment conglomerate and a hundred thousand tweens experiencing the Internet for the first time?
Fortunately for the sanctity of America’s tween email addresses, the government is taking the case seriously: The Daily News reports that the Justice Department is suing Artist Arena for breaching the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. Go get ‘em, Feds! This breach of Beliebers’ trust must not go unpunished.
UPDATE: They’ve settled! Artist Arena will pay a $1 million fine and pinky-swear to never ever collect 12-year-olds’ personal information again.