AMAZON.COM PULLS CHILDREN'S ID FEATURES

Moves Comes Day After Consumer Groups Complained to FTC

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- A day after consumer groups accused Amazon.com of violating federal children's privacy laws, the company announced it has removed children's identifying information from its Web sites.

Amazon said it never intended to disclose the information, and that the children who were identified online had bypassed steps intended to list their comments anonymously. The children, who are 13 and younger, had revealed their e-mail and home addresses in reviewing toys on the online retailer's toy-shopping channel.

"The information was information supplied at the instigation of children," said Bill Curry, a company spokesman. "We have screens and filters but when it happens, we keep making the net harder [to bypass.]"

Has taken steps
He said Amazon is not a site aimed at

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children, but has voluntarily taken some steps to see that children under 13 don't provide personal information.

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act prohibits Web sites from collecting personal information without parental permission. The Electronic Privacy Information Council and 11 other consumer groups yesterday accused Amazon of flouting the law in not taking adequate steps to ensure the information doesn't get posted.

The groups released a list of instances in which children clearly under 13 posted their toy reviews. They had asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate.

Mr. Curry today defended the company, saying that it doesn't aim to sell to children, and its Web site even includes screens to stop underage posting that were circumvented by the children.

He also said the Amazon acted shortly after it was notified by consumer groups of their complaints.

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