Mobile Apps Under Scrutiny For Infringing On Children’s Privacy
A grand total of 1,400,000 apps are available through the Apple App Store and Google Play. With everything from Angry Birds, to Mapquest, to Pandora all within a child’s reach, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is starting to crack down on children’s online privacy laws for mobile devices.
The FTC points out that device ID, geolocation and phone numbers can all be pulled from an app user’s mobile device, but parents are seldom notified of this data-fishing. According to the FTC, mobile apps are crossing a line when children’s information enters the mix.
What’s even trickier is how much users actually know about the devices they operate every day. A recent study demonstrates that the majority of users are “sorely mistaken about how much privacy they have.” 59 percent of respondents indicated they thought their phones were just as safe as their computers. And 19 percent said they thought their phones were even more private than their computers. This, however, is not the case, as information on a mobile device is relatively insecure and third-party accessible, meaning the user’s data is quietly tracked and shared.
The FTC aims to make heavy changes in the children’s online privacy law by:
(1) Incorporating privacy protections into the design of mobile products and services
(2) Offering parents easy-to-understand choices about the data collection and sharing through kids’ apps
(3) Providing greater transparency about how data is collected, used and shared through kids’ apps.