Violence is not the only issue concerning video games. Many other subjects raise concerns in this area.
“Privacy is not a game”
Video games have become an increasingly popular form of entertainment for people of all ages. However, with high popularity comes high concern about the collection of data from players, particularly in relation to minors. The illegal collection of data from minors by video game companies is a serious issue that raises significant legal and ethical concerns.
Gaming and Data Protection Principles
The General Data Protection Regulation of 2016 shows the Europeans’ concerns about the collection of their personal data. This Regulation defines personal data as “any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person” in its Article 4. Collecting data is prohibited unless it falls within one of the six legal bases which are : consent, contract, vital interest of the data subject, legal obligation, public interest and legitimate interest.
This Regulation gives the power to the national data protection authorities to punish companies that don’t comply. The penalties are discouraging for companies. Indeed the fines can go up to 4 % of their annual turnover for severe violations.
The GDPR applies to video game companies since its adoption in 2016 because they collect the gamers data in order to improve and develop their games.
Gaming industry industry and the General Data Protection Regulation
Gamers, of all ages, are subject to data collection without giving their consent to companies. A recent study shows that 90% of mobile game companies don’t respect General Data Protection Regulation and its principles. According to Usercentrics, 94% of European, Middle-East and African mobile gaming companies and 87% of North americans’ companies don’t comply with GDPR. Only 40% of users are ready to delete video games applications if they suspect illegal data collection. Compliance can be difficult for companies. Indeed, GDPR compliance requires significant investments and resources.
Young gamers and their data
There have been several cases in recent years of video game companies illegally collecting data from minors. For instance, Epic games Inc, creator of Fortnite, collected data from minors under the age of 13 without obtaining consent from the Fortnite players’ parents.
There is growing awareness about the protection of minors’ data. In France, the Agency for Video Games (Agence française pour le jeu vidéo) has established mechanisms to safeguard the data of young players, such as double authentication. Meanwhile, in the United States, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) sets rules for collecting data from young gamers, requiring companies to obtain parental consent before collecting data from children under the age of 13.
Parents or legal guardians should take the collection of data from minors by video game companies seriously. It’s important to be informed about the measures taken by companies to protect the privacy of children, and to be involved in decisions about what data is collected and how it is used.
Master 2 Cyberjustice – Promotion 2022 – 2023