Your Child’s Mobile Apps are giving their Information to Companies
According to a recent report released by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Mobile Apps for Kids: Disclosures Still Not Making the Grade, many of the mobile apps geared towards children in the Google Play and Apple App stores are sharing information, like device ID, geolocation, phone numbers, and more, with third parties, ad networks, and analytics companies. Worst of all, this is all going on in secret, without first notifying parents or asking for permission before download.
Scary, isn’t it?
“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. “All of the companies in the mobile app space, especially the gatekeepers of the app stores, need to do a better job.”
Some more Scary Statistics
- 60%, or 235 of all surveyed apps collected device IDs. The majority of these apps then sent this information to an advertising network, analytics company, or other third party.
- 17% of the apps reviewed allow kids to make purchases without a parent’s permission.
- 58% of the apps reviewed contained advertising, while only 15% disclosed this fact prior to download.
In response to the alarming information above, the FTC is launching an investigation of the offending companies to see if they may be violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) or the Federal Trade Commission Act.
“This report reveals widespread disregard for children’s privacy rules,” said American University Prof. Kathryn Montgomery. “In the rapidly growing children’s mobile market, companies are seizing on new ways to target children, unleashing a growing arsenal of interactive techniques, including geo-location and use of personal contact data. It is clear that there is an urgent need for the FTC to update its COPPA regulations and to engage in ongoing enforcement.”
So parents, please doubled check everything your child has access to, even on their phone!
If you have any questions, please contact Working Nets by calling (443) 992-7394 or visit WorkingNets.com today!
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