FTC: App Developers Still Failing at Disclosures for Kids

(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – The FTC issued a stern warning on Monday: App makers still aren’t following proper protocol as in terms of exactly what data belonging to children is collected.

In a report titled “Mobile Apps for Kids: Disclosures Still Not Making the Grades,” the commission followed up a previous study calling privacy disclosures “disappointing.”

Studied were app marketplaces from both Apple and Google, the two largest. In addition to examining disclosures related to app features and interaction, the operation sought to find if apps were sharing personal data with third parties without providing proper acknowledgement to parents.

“The answer: Yes, many apps included interactive features or shared kids’ information with third parties without disclosing these practices to parents,” stated the FTC via the report.

The study was carried out during the summer. FTC workers searched the term “kids” in app marketplaces, randomly selecting apps from both providers. They were then downloaded for testing.

The startling result was that 60% of those studied relayed mobile device ID data either to the developer or to advertising networks. Just 20% of those apps, however, featured information related to the privacy practices.

With the latest results, the FTC has concluded little progress in the area has been made. Meanwhile, the commission is hoping app developers pick it up – providing more proper disclosures to users.