FTC Investigating Kids Apps Over Privacy Concerns

NewImageThe U.S. Federal Trade Commission has released a report examining apps aimed at children on the App Store and the Google Play marketplace. The report, entitled Mobile Apps for Kids: Disclosures Still Not Making the Grade, is a followup from a survey of kids' apps performed in 2011 that also looked at privacy policies and other practices for apps aimed at children.

Staff examined hundreds of apps for children and looked at disclosers and links on each app’s promotion page in the app store, on the app developer’s website, and within the app. According to the report, “most apps failed to provide any information about the data collected through the app, let alone the type of data collected, the purpose of the collection, and who would obtain access to the data. Even more troubling, the results showed that many of the apps shared certain information with third parties – such as device ID, geolocation, or phone number – without disclosing that fact to parents. Further, a number of apps contained interactive features – such as advertising, the ability to make in-app purchases, and links to social media – without disclosing these features to parents prior to download.”

It's not just a report that the FTC is issuing -- the Commission is going further, launching "non-public investigations to determine whether certain entities in the mobile app marketplace are violating" Federal law.

appsforkids
It's unclear where the investigations will lead, but it isn't the first governmental look into the privacy policies of apps. The state of California recently sued Delta Air Lines over its iOS app, claiming that Delta hasn't provided a sufficient privacy policy for the app. The company has such a policy for its web site, but not a separate one that addresses the Fly Delta app.

The Federal Trade Commission has been very active in the tech and Apple worlds for years. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) asked the FTC to examine the practices of photo uploads to app developers earlier this year, and the FTC has previously examined the practice of a PR-firm arranging fake app reviews of App Store games.

Top Rated Comments

LagunaSol Avatar
149 months ago
This is not a regulatory issue but a parenting issue...

Parents are supposed to sift through app code to determine whether any data collection is being done? :confused:
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gotluck Avatar
149 months ago
Google data mining children....nothing wrong with that!
Poor google get such a hard time for such a credible organization.
This article is not about Google.
Good reading comprehension!
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Renzatic Avatar
149 months ago
Man, this thread went from zero to stupid faster than usual...
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LagunaSol Avatar
149 months ago
The logic behind the dessert analogies for Android versions (Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, etc.) is finally becoming clear.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LagunaSol Avatar
149 months ago
Exactly right. What "apps" (why did we stop calling things computer programs?) does a kid need to download? Computer games? Doro the dumbass? Let-me-blow-your-brains-out-VII? Math-games for lazy parents and teachers? Take your pick.

Your kids must be overjoyed. :eek:
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Small White Car Avatar
149 months ago
This article is not about Google.
Good reading comprehension!
So I guess you just read the first 20 words and decided to take a break?

Man, are you gonna be surprised when you come back with your snack and start back with the 21st word in the article.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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