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Law firm Aberdein Considine in cross-border push

An expansion-hungry Scottish law firm is swimming against the prevailing flow of cross-border deals in the legal sector with the acquisition of an established practice in Newcastle.

Aberdein Considine – which has grown out of the north-east into five cities across Scotland – has acquired Wallers Solicitors in a bid to service customers with requirements in multiple UK jurisdictions. Trading under the Aberdein Considine brand, the combined business will have 380 staff and an annual turnover of more than £22 million.

The acquisition is being accompanied by the firm’s first senior appointment in England, former HL Interactive chief executive Matt Wightman. An experienced debt and asset recovery specialist – a key area for Aberdein Considine – Wightman will spearhead the new English and Welsh operation.

READ MORE: Aberdein Considine pursues expansion after client wins

Rob Aberdein, partner in charge of lender services, said the deal allows the firm to offer clients the convenience and security of using one firm across all of mainland Britain. This has been one of the primary drivers of consolidation in the legal sector, though the vast majority of deals have seen Scottish firms taken over or merged with English peers, with names such as McGrigors, Dundas & Wilson and HBM Sayers subsumed in recent years.

“We already act for some of the UK’s biggest lenders and this deal brings our customer, compliance and regulatory-focused debt and asset recovery and conveyancing services into the English and Welsh legal markets for the first time,” Aberdein said.

“Wallers, which was previously part of Hay & Kilner, has a track record of providing a great service to its loyal clients. The same dedicated staff will continue to offer that same great service under the banner of Aberdein Considine.”

The firm was established in 1981 by Aberdeen lawyers Harvey Aberdein and Iain Considine. Their aim was to put lawyers on the high street in a bid to shake up the “stuffy” legal market.

It has done a string of deals in recent years, including the 2014 acquisition of Stirling’s Muirhead Buchanan. Earlier this year, it paid what was believed to be a seven-figure sum for A&S Ireland, giving Aberdein Considine additional Glasgow offices in Newton Mearns and the city centre’s Byres Road and Waterloo Street.

The firm has been under the joint leadership of managing partner Jacqueline Law and senior partner Bob Fraser since 2014.

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New Law Firm Website Design Packages Announced by PaperStreet

PaperStreet announces the introduction of its new website design packages for law firms. The new design packages are created specifically for law firms to create engaging websites that will improve their branding and increase traffic to their website.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida (PRWEB) September 14, 2016

Almost all law firms have a website now. What’s going to differentiate a law firm and set them apart in a crowded market? The difference is creating a plan to produce a website that is both informative and engaging. The key is prioritizing content.

Firms can now choose from four packages depending on the design level needed. “Not every firm needs to spend tens-of-thousands of dollars on just a design of a website,” says PaperStreet founder, Pete Boyd. “Instead, they can produce a website for much less and devote their resources to writing content.”

About PaperStreet’s New Plans

PaperStreet has four new plans: Essentials, Plus, Custom, and Enterprise. Each plan scales with the firm’s needs and delivers additional design services depending on the goals of the project. From Essentials plans, which are intended for most small firms or solo practitioners, to Enterprise plans for AmLaw 200, PaperStreet has packages that meet most needs.

Law Firm Website Design Plans

The starting plan is Essentials. With an Essentials plan, the firm has six modern, ready-to-go website designs to choose from. The firm can then customize each design by altering the colors, photos, content areas, logos, and, of course, changing out the text. These designs start at just $3,000 total for the first year without content and $4,500 with content. They also include logo design, support, hosting, and content platform to update the website ongoing.

When a firm needs additional customization of the home page, the Plus level plan is available to law firms. With this plan, the firm receives a completely custom home page, marketing message, and writing of home page content. The package still includes best practice templates for subpages, but the homepage is a bespoke design for the firm. Pricing for Plus level typically starts at $9,000 for a law firm. The design can be developed to work either with WordPress or Total Control content platform. Moreover, the firm can provide their own hosting/support system or work with PaperStreet’s team.

Most mid-size law firms want to stand apart from their competition and want a unique website experience. PaperStreet created the Custom plan to assist law firms with branding their firm online. With a Custom level plan, the firm receives not only a unique home page, but also unique pages for attorney bios, attorney listing pages, practice pages, practice list pages, blog, general pages, and other pages. More importantly, PaperStreet helps the firm with an overall marketing message and online web brand. A full Custom website can start at $15,000, but the budget can vary from project to project.

Finally, PaperStreet has worked with several AMLaw 200 firms and understands their unique needs. At the Enterprise level, PaperStreet includes a high-level of support for all marketing directors, firm administrators and marketing/technology committees. With an Enterprise level plan, often the firm needs proposal generators, syncing with CRMs or file management systems, best practice guidelines and additional consulting. Enterprise level plans start at $25,000 to $75,000+ depending on the scope of work.

“With our new level of plans, we are positioned to be able to meet the needs of all law firms. Our experience with working with over 1,000 firms in 15 years, from AMLaw 100 firms to solo practitioners, has allowed us to gain a vast experience of what law firms need and want for their online web presence,” says Boyd.

Learn more about PaperStreet’s new law firm website design plans and see their portfolio of law firm designs online.

About PaperStreet

Since 2001, PaperStreet Web Design has been helping law firms develop custom websites. PaperStreet also provides internet marketing solutions, including search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) and content writing services. Founded by a lawyer, for lawyers, the company understands and anticipates the needs and objectives of busy partners, shareholders and legal specialists.

PaperStreet is a recognized leader in web design. The company has handled more than 1,000 projects for clients throughout the United States and around the world, including Europe, India, Africa and the Middle East. Recent awards include “Best In Class” recognition from the Interactive Media Awards, a Gold Award from the MarCom Awards, inclusion in the “Best Law Firm Websites, 2016 Edition” by Lawyerist, a Platinum AVA Digital Award and the top website for the LMA Southeast Chapter.

For more information about PaperStreet, please visit

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Firms question Immigration’s authority to freeze assets over illegal hires

Migrant workers are led to have their documents inspected during an immigration raid in Kuala Lumpur. — AFP picKUALA LUMPUR, Sept 15 — The Immigration Department is not empowered to freeze the assets of employers who hire illegal foreign workers without a court order, the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) has argued.

MEF executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said Section 56 of the Immigration Act 1963 only covers offences and punishments that should be imposed by the court upon conviction, and that freezing a firm’s assets before then was premature.

“This presupposes that the punishment is imposed by the court and not the Immigration Department,” he was quoted saying by local daily The Star.

He cited as example the same law’s Section 56(1) (d), where “anyone harbouring any person whom he knows or has reasonable grounds for believing to have acted in contravention of the Act such as not having a visa, passport or work permit, could be fined upon conviction in court not exceeding RM10,000 or jailed not more than five years”.

For the offence of harbouring more than five illegal individuals, the penalty is a fine of between RM10,000 to RM50,000 for each person harboured, a jail term of between six months to five years, and a maximum whipping of six strokes.

Immigration Depart­ment director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali told The Star, however, that the legal provision allowing the freezing of assets and bank accounts is not merely under Section 56(1) but is also tied to the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLA) 2001’s second schedule.

According to The Star, senior lawyer Datuk Seri Jaha­berdeen Mohamed Yunoos said Section 56(1) was not related to asset seizures, while only Section 44 of the Immigration Act allows for detention of vessels or aircraft believed to have been used to carry illegal immigrants.

He said that it was possible for the Immigration Department to use the anti-money laundering law to freeze accounts if the suspects who hired trafficked foreign workers, as the proceeds of such businesses would be illegal and the use of such money is tantamount to money laundering.

The Star reported Bar Council Human Rights Committee co-chairman Andrew Khoo as saying the asset freeze could be carried out under the AMLA’s Section 44, but noted that this can only be done if someone is under investigation for having hired human trafficking victims or smuggled migrants.

He noted that the asset freeze was permitted for those investigated for possibly committing a “serious offence” as defined in the AMLA’s second schedule, which he said does not mention any provision from the Immigration Act and only includes crimes such as human trafficking.

He also said the order for the freezing of assets will expire if the suspect is not charged within 90 days of the order, but added that the order can be extended.

On Tuesday, Mustafar said that his department will freeze the assets of employers of illegal foreign workers from next month onwards based on existing law.

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UGA School of Law working to increase enrollment after five-year drop

The University of Georgia School of Law is experiencing less enrollment than it did five years ago.

In the last five years, law school enrollment nationwide has been in decline. According to a report from Public Broadcasting Atlanta, all five law schools in Georgia have fewer students enrolled this semester than in the fall of 2011.

“Yes, nationally there was a drop in applicants to law school,” said Gregory Roseboro, executive director of admissions and diversity programs at UGA Law School. “It’s beginning to change now. Last year applicants were slightly up, but it’s nowhere near where it was, let’s say five or six years ago.”

Madison Turner, of Suwanee, who graduated from UGA in May with a double major in political science and criminal justice, went through the application process for the University of Georgia School of Law and several other law schools. Turner said throughout the application process, the decrease in enrollment in law schools nationwide was brought up multiple times.

“Around the recession, students were graduating and couldn’t get jobs as attorneys. They were graduating and trying to pay off student loans and couldn’t,” Roseboro said. “So it’s kind of a trickle-down effect, unless people are applying. It’s definitely something not specific to Georgia as far as the lower enrollment. That’s definitely something almost every law school has seen.”

Some for-profit law schools, including the Charleston School of Law, have struggled to keep their doors open due to the lower enrollment numbers. The owners of the college announced in 2015 that they might not take a new class of students in the fall, according to a report from The Post and Courier. Although they did end up admitting a new class in the fall of 2016, the owners of the school said in a statement that the school was spending more than was coming in.

However, Roseboro said as of last year, law school applicants were slightly up nationally and the numbers appear to be leveling off.

“At one point in time, we saw a trend that the law firms were not hiring as many as they had, but that’s hopefully beginning to change as well,” he said. “We are beginning to see a little bit of an uptick as opposed to what’s been happening over the past three or four years.”

Roseboro said the UGA School of Law is working to increase recruitment efforts and communicate about the success of the program. However, Turner withdrew her offer from the school and chose to attend the University of Mississippi School of Law instead after a frustrating experience with UGA School of Law Admissions.

“I sent multiple emails that were never returned. I left voicemails to different people in admissions, and those were never returned as well,” Turner said. “Other admissions directors from other SEC schools were calling me and checking in about my process and where I was in my decision making. But I couldn’t even get my home school to respond to my calls and emails.”

“Other admissions directors from other SEC schools were calling me and checking in about my process … But I couldn’t even get my home school to respond to my calls and emails.”

-Madison Turner, UGA alumna  

In Georgia, UGA is tied with Georgia State University for the third-largest law class of 2020, behind Emory University and the Atlanta John Marshall Law School. In the SEC, UGA also enrolled the third largest class of 2020, behind the University of Florida College of Law and the University of South Carolina School of Law, according to data from Law School Numbers.

“What we’re doing is increasing our recruitment efforts and continuing to talk about what a great program we have here and doing the best that we can do to enroll a good and quality student body,” Roseboro said.

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Law firm Hugh James expands its presence in London through acquisition

Top 100 UK law firm Hugh James has acquired London-based boutique commercial property legal practice Claremont Richards in the latest phase of its growth strategy in the UK capital.

And it follows the opening of its Temple Chambers office in London in 2013. Hugh James’ head office is in Cardiff.

Claremont Richards, which will now operate under the Hugh James name, is led by commercial property partners, Howard Richards and Simon Levine, who have more than 60 years’ experience working for leading London law firms.

The firm services a broad range of clients which include SMEs, developers, private investors, banks and contractors.

They both join Hugh James as partners and will lead the firm’s commercial property offering in London.

They will work closely with their counterparts in Cardiff who already work with a broad range of property and construction clients outside Wales.

Mr Richards said: “Simon and I are extremely proud of the firm we have built and the portfolio of clients we represent.

“The needs of our clients have evolved and many require services and support beyond our areas of practice. We are very excited about joining Hugh James which strengthens our offering to clients.

“Hugh James has built an excellent reputation as a leading commercial firm in Wales and already established a real foothold in the City.

“Simon and I are very confident we can help the firm to continue its ambitious growth plans by leading its commercial property work in London.”

Hugh James view

Ioan Prydderch, head of property and construction at Hugh James, said: “Claremont Richards is an excellent firm led by two leading practitioners who will certainly add a great deal to our offering to clients in London.

“They have developed an excellent portfolio of clients over many years who they will continue to work with as part of Hugh James.

“However I am also sure both Simon and Howard will use their considerable expertise and experience to benefit many of our existing clients.”

Managing partner

Alun Jones, managing partner at Hugh James, said: “Part of our growth strategy is to increase our present in London alongside our work in Wales.

“We are delighted that Howard and Simon felt Hugh James was the right environment for them to continue developing the practice they have built over many years and they share in our enthusiasm for what the future holds for Hugh James in London.”

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Legal 500 2016: European Union (EU) and competition law

The Legal 500 report authors single out for praise five north west law firms who excel when it comes to advising clients on European Union (EU) and competition law.

All of these are headquartered in Manchester.

TIER ONE DWF is rated “excellent on state aid” matters.

Jonathan Branton – who splits his time between Manchester and Leeds – heads the team, which advises clients such as Morrisons, Birmingham City Council, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills and Dairy UK. Also recommended are associate Jay Mehta, Michael Mousdale, who is experienced in public procurement and recently promoted partner Colin Murray.

The practice was strengthened by the opening of its Brussels office in 2015 and the recruitment of James Lupton from Eversheds.

TIER TWO Clients of Weightmans’ “excellent” team include C P Foods, Healthcare at Home, Edward Billington and Son and the Motor Insurers’ Bureau.

Key figures include “experienced” department head Laurence Pritchard, Gary Jones, who handles state aid matters and Martin Vincent, who advises on public procurement.

TIER THREE Mark Molyneux is the key figure at Addleshaw Goddard following the departure of former national team head Phil McDonnell to join Ernst & Young.

Pannone Corporate was bolstered by the arrival of Tristan Meears-White from DWF in May 2015.

For Squire Patton Boggs, senior associate Nicola Elam and Diarmuid Ryan, who is based in London and Manchester, are recommended.

Tier one


Tier two

Weightmans LLP

Tier three

Addleshaw Goddard LLP

Pannone Corporate LLP

Squire Patton Boggs

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UPDATE 3-Juncker upsets Web firms with EU internet plan

* Post-Brexit, Juncker seeks to show EU works for voters

* Telecoms operators see benefit from proposals

* Reform plan expected to be fiercely contested

* Showdown seen between content rights holders, websites

(Edits, adds detail on reform plans)

BRUSSELS, Sept 14 (Reuters) – European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced measures on Wednesday to rein in the world’s technology giants, improve broadband speeds and cut the cost of internet access, trying to rally popular support for an EU battered by Brexit.

The reforms are likely to shift some wealth from internet services such as Google and Facebook to European telecom groups, which have largely missed out on the tech sector’s surging growth and have lobbied hard for more flexible rules that would give them more money to invest in faster broadband access.

They complain that Google, Facebook’s WhatsApp, Microsoft’s Skype and other services have made billions by piggy-backing on their networks for free.

Among the changes, Juncker wants to roll back European Union rules that bar the likes of Deutsche Telekom, Orange and Telefonica from co-investing or sharing network capacity. The Commission would expand rules covering security and confidentiality for phone providers to internet-based communication services.

“We propose today to equip every European village and every city with free wireless internet access,” Juncker told the European Parliament in Strasbourg, without giving more details of how the EU would help to achieve this goal within the next decade.

The plan would also extend the copyright powers of publishers, music artists and other content owners to seek a share of the revenue which internet services make from linking to publishing snippets of content such as news.

Juncker said the EU would also help to protect the personal online data of EU citizens through legal framework changes. The Silicon Valley tech giants are accused by European consumer groups of stockpiling users’ data for commercial ends.

The unveiling of Juncker’s reform plan starts what is expected to be a fierce fight among EU lawmakers, member states and industry groups before it can become law.


The plan will add weight to accusations from across the Atlantic that EU measures in recent years to protect competition and privacy and crack down on illegal state aid are targeting the U.S. tech giants unfairly.

Critics, including U.S. President Barack Obama, have said the Commission is using tighter regulations against Silicon Valley companies in the hope of creating regional versions of Google or Apple. Last year, Obama dismissed these moves as “commercially driven”, taken because European tech firms “can’t compete” with U.S. rivals.

The tech industry expressed its displeasure on Wednesday.

EDiMA, a trade group backed by top U.S. and European tech firms ranging from Airbnb and Candy Crush game maker to Amazon and Google, called the copyright framework more 1916 than 2016.

“It does not reflect the current environment in which users access and consume content online and lacks the ambition called for by most European stakeholders and consumers to realise a Digital Single Market,” EDiMA said in a statement.

Juncker’s plans, highlighted in his annual State of the Union address, will be seen as an effort to counter euroscepticism by showing how technocratic institutions in Brussels can deliver improvements to people’s lives.

The Commission’s broader efforts to create the “digital single market” are seen widely as favouring domestic telecom and media companies. Only eight of the top 100 global tech companies are headquartered in Europe, according to an A.T. Kearney study.

Some of Juncker’s consumer-friendly measures are also likely to impact the telecom industry, including a plan for free mobile roaming and wireless internet in cities across the EU.

In a surprise move this month before the speech, Juncker withdrew proposals to limit the number of days consumers can use their mobile phones abroad without paying extra fees after criticism that the rules favoured telecoms firms.

He ordered the draft to be revised in what allies and officials said showed the EU executive wanted to be seen to listen to voters three months after Britons opted to leave the bloc.


Juncker said that the EU would work to defend people’s right to privacy, saying: “Europeans do not like drones overhead recording their every move, or companies stockpiling their every mouse click. In Europe privacy matters.”

His copyright proposal could give publishers more bargaining power with Google when demanding payment from the world’s most popular internet search engine. The outlines of this proposal stirred controversy when they were leaked last month but Wednesday’s plan provided few specifics.

“The creation of content is not a hobby, it is a profession,” Juncker said. “As the world goes digital we have also to empower our artists and creators … I want journalists, publishers and authors to be paid fairly for their work.”

Google called the plan a backward step for copyright in Europe that would limit its ability to help news publishers generate advertising revenue by sending traffic their way via Google’s Google News and Search properties.

“After all, paying to display snippets is not a viable option for anyone,” Google Vice President for global policy Caroline Atkinson wrote in a blog.

The Society of Audiovisual Authors, speaking on behalf of media licensing rights groups, praised elements of the package. However, it said the plan failed to provide an “unwaivable right to remuneration” for European film, TV and multimedia screenwriters and directors to make a living from their works.

Benoît Machuel, General Secretary of the International Federation of Musicians, said: “What we need is a right for all performers to be paid each time a performance is used online on iTunes, Netflix or Spotify.”

Grassroots internet rights groups said the draft proposal to extend copyright for news publishers even to short sections of news repeats the mistakes of laws passed in Germany and Spain, which hurt publishers and internet users alike.

“We now have a proposal that is poison for Europeans’ free speech, poison for European business and poison for creativity,” said Joe McNamee, Executive Director of European Digital Rights. “It could not conceivably be worse.”

The EU initiatives got a thumbs up from ETNO, the European telecoms operators’ association whose members include Orange and Telefonica.

“We need to ensure that the new Code (proposal) provides technologically-inclusive incentives, allowing our members to deliver a further increase in broadband investment,” ETNO Chairman Steven Tas said.

The telecoms industry had already lobbied against the burden of the original proposal of allowing them to charge extra only for clients who use their phones abroad for more than 90 days a year or 30 in a row.

The European Consumer Organisation welcomed Juncker’s reforms but expressed concerns they would favour dominant market players and do little to lower prices on international calls.

“Consumers need operators to compete with one another in the market to deliver innovative services at cheaper prices,” its head Monique Goyens said in a statement.

(Additional reporting by Marilyn Haigh in Brussels, Eric Auchard in Frankfurt and Alastair Macdonald in Strasbourg; editing by Tom Pfeiffer and David Stamp)

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Norman Lamont warns 'Brexit will not mean Brexit' in EU law export row

Tory former chancellor Norman Lamont has warned “Brexit will not mean Brexit” if EU law continued to be applied to UK firms that did not even export to the bloc.

The Conservative peer, who sits as Lord Lamont of Lerwick, stressed the difference between access to the single market and membership of it.

He also argued many countries had increased their exports to the single market – more than the UK – despite not being members.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon says there is a real risk the UK will suffer a lost decade or more after leaving European Union

Lord Lamont made his remarks following calls by Liberal Democrat peer Lord Taverne for the UK to maintain its membership of the single market.

He told the Government to ensure future prosperity and trade “the least bad solution is to preserve our membership of the single market at all costs”.

Responding, Brexit minister Lord Bridges of Headley said: “We are determined to protect and build on our economic strengths whilst implementing the decision of the British people to leave the EU.

“We want the right deal for trade and services for the United Kingdom.”

READ MORE: Tory MP’s Brexit proposal denied permission for further debate amid opposition

He added: “We are analysing the position, analysing the options open and determined to come up with the best option for the country.”

Lord Lamont said: “Will he acknowledge that there is a difference between access to the single market and membership of the single market.

“And will he recognise the fact that there are many countries that have increased their exports to the single market more than we have and are not members of the single market.

“And if we are to have a situation in which EU law continues to be applied to companies in this country, which are not even exporting to the EU, then Brexit will not mean Brexit.”

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon says there is a real risk the UK will suffer a lost decade or more after leaving European Union

Lord Bridges said: “He’s absolutely right to draw the distinction between access and membership.

“We are and we must never forget that we are negotiating from a position of considerable economic strength in this country.

“As we enter these negotiations that should buoy us.”

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Pomerantz Law Firm Investigates Claims On Behalf of Investors of LifeVantage Corporation – LFVN

NEW YORK, Sept. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Pomerantz LLP is investigating claims on behalf of investors of LifeVantage Corporation (“LifeVantage” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: LFVN) (CUSIP: 53222K106). Investors are advised to contact Robert S. Willoughby at or 888-476-6529, ext. 9980.

The investigation concerns whether LifeVantage and certain of its officers and/or directors have violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

[Click here to join a class action]

On September 13, 2016, post-market, LifeVantage disclosed that it was delaying the release of its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2016 financial results, citing the Company’s review of its sales into certain international markets and the revenue and income tax and the associated accruals.

On this news, LifeVantage stock fell $1.32, or 12.69%, to close at $9.09 on September 14, 2016.

The Pomerantz Firm, with offices in New York, Chicago, Florida, and Los Angeles, is acknowledged as one of the premier firms in the areas of corporate, securities, and antitrust class litigation. Founded by the late Abraham L. Pomerantz, known as the dean of the class action bar, the Pomerantz Firm pioneered the field of securities class actions. Today, more than 80 years later, the Pomerantz Firm continues in the tradition he established, fighting for the rights of the victims of securities fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, and corporate misconduct. The Firm has recovered numerous multimillion-dollar damages awards on behalf of class members. See

Robert S. Willoughby
Pomerantz LLP

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:–lfvn-300328415.html

SOURCE Pomerantz LLP

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Is Barbie spying your children? Top toy firms fined $835,000 for tracking online activity and collecting personal data of children under 13

  • Viacom, Mattel, Hasbro and JumpStart fined for tracking kids online
  • Two-year probe was conducted by New York Attorney General’s office
  • Must $835,000 and regularly check websites for tracking technology

Associated Press

Stacy Liberatore For

Gone are the days when children being out past dark was a parent’s worst fear; now they have to worry about smart toys tracking their child’s every move.

After a two-year probe, Viacom, Mattel, Hasbro and JumpStart have been ordered to pay $835,000 in fines for tracking and collecting personal data of children online. 

All four companies allowed tracking technology on their websites, which violates the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act that limits marketing to children under 13.

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Gone are the days when their children being out past dark was a parent’s worst fear, now they have to worry about Barbie tracking their child’s every move. Viacom, Mattel, Hasbro and JumpStart have been ordered to pay $835,000 in fines for tracking children online


Viacom, Mattel, Hasbro and JumpStart were found to have tracking technology on popular children websites. 

Some of the popular websites included Viacom’s Nick Jr. and Nickelodeon; Mattel’s Barbie, Hot Wheels and American Girl; JumpStart’s Neopets; and Hasbro’s My Little Pony, Littlest Pet Shop and Nerf. 

Not only do they owe $835,000 in fine, but the companies must do regular audits of their websites to make sure no new tracking tools have been introduced. 

They also have to vet third-party services they plan on working with. 

‘We used to worry about our children wandering into bad neighborhoods, now our children live online,’ New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a press conference.

‘We have to deal with this the same way we deal with street crime.’ 

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, limits marketing to children under 13 and requires website operators to retain parental consent before collecting any of the child’s personal information.

Now, Viacom must pay $500,000, Mattel $250,000 and JumpStart is set to hand over $85,000.

Hasbro was not fined, as it is a ‘safe harbor’ program’ through the Federal Trade Commission that requires more disclosure of web activity, Schneiderman said.

The firm who has already added a cookies warning sign to their website, said it cooperated with investigators and will closely monitor companies working on its behalf.

‘We are rolling out a new, stricter online privacy protection policy for our partners, and enacting new protocols and technology to scan our digital properties for any cookies, widgets or other applications that may violate our policy,’ Hasbro spokeswoman Julie Duffy said.

Some of the popular websites included Viacom’s Nick Jr. and Nickelodeon; Mattel’s Barbie, Hot Wheels and American Girl; JumpStart’s Neopets; and Hasbro’s My Little Pony, Littlest Pet Shop and Nerf. 

Now, Viacom must pay $500,000, Mattel $250,000 and JumpStart is set to hand over $85,000. Hasbro (pictured) was not fined, as it is a ‘safe harbor’ program’ through the Federal Trade Commission that requires more disclosure of web activity

All of the companies are now required to do regular audits of their websites to make sure no new tracking tools have magically appeared.

The settlements also state that the companies conduct due diligence with all the third-party services prior to working with them.

‘Any time we become aware of a question about whether a Mattel-operated website is in full compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act or other laws, we take prompt action to investigate and, if necessary, remedy the situation and look for additional controls to avoid a re-occurrence,’ spokesman Alex Clark with Mattel said. 


Last year, an expert claimed Mattel’s Wi-Fi enabled Barbie can be hacked and the toy could even act like a surveillance device by listening into a family’s conversations.

Hello Barbie (pictured) last year that has parents wonder if the toy maker is eavesdropping on their children

This follows on from the news that a hacker obtained photos of children and chat logs from toymaker VTech, which makes electronic learning devices.

The doll connects to the internet via Wi-Fi so it can search responses to questions via software company ToyTalk. 

It also has a microphone to record a child’s speech and respond to them. Because the doll remembers conversations and learns from the data to provide tailored responses, it almost seems like ‘she’s alive’, explained the firm. 

While this may sound revolutionary, Chicago-based security researcher Matt Jakubowski told NBC that he has discovered the toy is vulnerable to hacking. 

He hacked the doll’s operating system to get access to network names and IDs.

Once inside a network, he said it is easy to access account information and stored audio files as well as gain access to the microphone.

You can take that information and find out a person’s house or business,’ he warned.

‘It’s just a matter of time until we are able to replace their servers with ours and have her say anything we want.’

While the doll only listens to a conversation when a button is pressed, and the recording is encrypted, experts are concerned a hacker could override these precautions.

Mattel released Hello Barbie last year, which uses voice recognition software and Wi-Fi connection to have a two-way conversation with children as they play and has come under fire for privacy issues.

Speech recognition software is implanted into the doll, which converts audio into text and artificial intelligence software pulls keywords from human responses, reported Newsweek.

All of the companies, including Viacom (pictured) are now required to do audits of their websites to make sure no new tracking appeared. The settlements also state that the companies conduct due diligence with all the third-party services prior to working with them

‘They really shouldn’t call it Hello Barbie; they should call it Surveillance Barbie,’ Susan Linn, founding director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), told Newsweek in March. 

The nonprofit launched a ‘Hell No Barbie’ campaign that month with the hope of shutting down the product.

‘Kids talking to Hello Barbie aren’t just talking to a doll; they’re talking to Mattel…a multinational corporation whose only interest in them is financial.’ 

But Michelle Chidoni, head of Mattel’s communications, says, ‘It’s not a surveillance device. There’s not a camera in the doll.’



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