Digital Companies Span the Globe
Musical.ly is a fun app for teens It is also one of the latest company that is facing a similar plight as Facebook. International regulations and laws conflicts.
Privacy laws around the world are not the same and with the most recent trend to stop international collaborations, it will become ever more challenging. Musical.ly is a Chinese owned company. Therefore COPPA, the organization that protects children under 13 in the US, may be rather meaningless to them, and their Boston US office. The app is designed for teens.
In China the entire internet is regulated by the government. Free press, per se, does not exist in China and everything any Chinese citizen does has to be government approved or at least tolerated. Like elsewhere, human trade is rampant in China and therefore Chinese citizens seem to be very protective of their kids. In 2014 the Chinese government busted four different human trafficking rings and saved 382 babies
As a result, Chinese business managers, may not be aware of the issues parents face in an open and free society. Their parental guide clearly indicates that they provide valuable advice to parents, on how to protect their kids, and it is clear that they give full responsibility to the parents. This has brought them into legal conflict with the US based COPPA rules, that demands, companies protect underage children, children younger than 13, from harm.
Facebook is running afoul with EU privacy laws, and laws holding companies liable for deaths that result from spreading illegal hate speech. Chinese companies run into problems with COPPA; German companies were caught cheating against Clean Air laws in the US. We live in an international world and we all have to become more aware and respectful of each other and our own needs and preferences. Particularly when it come to protecting young children, prevention is worth much more than feeling sorry later on.
One way to prevent stranger danger is to give young kids Hawkeye Smartwatches, that simply don’t allow apps that are not COPPA compliant. Check out www.vigilintbiosensors.com for ways to accomplish this. Maybe soon Musical.ly will provide a kids friendly version of their app on that gated kid-friendly system. We can always hope. In the meantime – let’s watch over our kids carefully.