By Kate Tummarello - 02/11/14 03:39 PM EST
The Federal Trade Commission announced Tuesday that it has settled with a children’s online gaming company that falsely claimed to be a certified participant in an online privacy agreement between the U.S. and EU.
The U.S.-EU Safe Harbor agreement — a cooperative agreement between U.S. agencies and the European Commission — allows U.S. tech companies to store and process data belonging to European citizens if the companies can prove they meet European data protection principles.
“This does not necessarily mean that the company committed any substantive violations of the privacy principles of the Safe Harbor framework or other privacy laws,” the agency said.
The enforcement action — along with a set of enforcement actions earlier this year, including against NFL teams — comes as the U.S. government is defending itself against other criticism about privacy protections.
In the wake of revelations about U.S. government surveillance, European lawmakers have repeatedly questioned the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor agreement, concerned that the agreement allows the U.S. government to access European data through American tech companies.
“They don’t consider our privacy laws to be quote-unquote adequate,” FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said earlier in the week, speaking at a Silicon Flatirons event.
Ramirez defended her agency against the criticisms from other countries, saying the FTC is taking “a more proactive look at this program in terms of enforcement” and “making a dent in getting this perspective to change.”
“The actions that we’ve taken protect hundreds and millions of consumers, not only in the U.S., but around the world,” she said.