FTC: App Developers Collecting Data from Kids
Location Data, Contact Info Collected Without Parents' Consent
A new study by the Federal Trade Commission notes that the majority of mobile apps aimed at children secretly collect information from children including device IDs, phone numbers, locations, and other private data without their parents' knowledge or consent. According to the report
, apps offered for children in the Google Play and Apple App stores continue to fail horribly when it comes to informing parents or children about data collection, despite a survey last year saying the exact same thing.
Roughly 60% of kid-related apps available in the Google Play and Apple App stores examined by the FTC transmitted the device ID to an ad network, traffic analysis firm or another outfit. 14 out of 235 apps transmitted the device phone number and location, and many apps also didn't disclose to parents that the apps involved in-app payments.
"While we think most companies have the best intentions when it comes to protecting kids’ privacy, we haven’t seen any progress when it comes to making sure parents have the information they need to make informed choices about apps for their kids. In fact, our study shows that kids' apps siphon an alarming amount of information from mobile devices without disclosing this fact to parents," said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz.
Kids shouldn't feel too
badly, since data is routinely collected from their parents as well with little to no acknowledgment or privacy protection. The FTC appears to believe they can be a hands-off regulator here, issuing reports calling for change, despite the fact their own latest report indicates this change isn't happening.
"All of the companies in the mobile app space, especially the gatekeepers of the app stores, need to do a better job," said Leibowitz. "We'll do another survey in the future and we will expect to see improvement."
The FTC says they will start examining if these app makers are violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA.
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| |said by JasonOD :Not if the apps are not informing the parents of their intent. If I download "XYZ Fun Game" and it doesn't say it's going to start collecting all this information, how would I know to allow or not allow my kids to play it based on my privacy concerns?
are the ones paying the bill, so technically they own the phone, plan, contract, and whatever apps get onto the phone. Is this more of a parental responsibility issue?
One thing I did not see mentioned in this article is that the Google Play store does tell you what kind of access the app is requesting from your phone, such as location services, etc.
"Padre, nobody said war was fun now bowl!" - Sherman T Potter
OMG... We need to ban phone apps NOW!!! Do it for the children![/sarcasm]
said by ropeguru:The children! The children! Won't somebody puh-leaze think of the poor innocent children! LOL
We need to ban phone apps NOW!!! Do it for the children![/sarcasm]
Re: READ the permissions request
said by me1212:Agreed, but I call it natural selection.
If people don't read the user agreement/permissions request its their own fault I say.
said by silbaco:Actually,
Actually this is an issue. Apps capture a ridiculous amount of information and often times for no valid reason. They don't do a very good job telling users what it is they capture and they do a horrible job securing the information they collect.
This is a MAJOR issue, period! Enough said!!
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