Apps Marketed To Kids Aren’t Doing Enough To Protect Privacy: FTC

Apps that are targeted at children are not doing enough to provide parents with information about what data is being collected about their kids. This is according to a new report from the Federal Trade Commission called “Mobile Apps for Kids: Disclosures Still Not Making the Grade“.

The report found that almost 60 percent of the apps surveyed  are transmitting information from a user’s device back to the app developer or to a third party such as an advertising network. In fact, a small number of third party companies receive information from many of the apps, which the FTC says could result in these companies building detailed profiles about these children.

According to the report, many apps have interactive features like the ability to link to social media or the ability to make in-app purchases, but this information is not disclosed to parents.

“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,” stated Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the FTC.  “All of the companies in the mobile app space, especially the gatekeepers of the app stores, need to do a better job.  We’ll do another survey in the future and we will expect to see improvement.”