New York cracks down on toymakers tracking children online

Michael Virtanen, Christian Science Monitor, Sept 14, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The challenge of private investment in education is that companies see children primarily as potential markets and they seek to maximize that even if it's against the law. Case in point: "settlements Tuesday with Viacom, Mattel, Hasbro and JumpStart Games to stop them from using or allowing tracking technology on their popular children's websites." The point here is that these companies knew the tracking was illegal, and knew they should stop it, but didn't. Because companies (unlike people) will act contrary to law unless they are forced not to. That's one reason why it's so expensive to privatize public services; the companies must constantly be monitored for compliance. I wish there were something like a criminal record for companies, so (for example) if they break laws they no longer qualify for government contracts, or are no longer allowed to work with children, or something.

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