The Federal Trade Commission released a report today showing the details of a survey of privacy disclosures and mobile apps for children. The survey results show that neither the app stores nor the app developers provide parents with notice regarding what types of information are collected from children. To create its report, the FTC looked at the Apple App store and Android Marketplace promotion pages, as well as the applications themselves, and determined that most apps offer little to no disclosure regarding what information is collected and how it is used. The report made several recommendations, including encouraging app stores to take responsibility to ensure parents have access to necessary privacy disclosures. The report also recommended app developers ensure their data practices are made available to parents in simple and short disclosures. The FTC enforces the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule which requires operators of online services, including mobile apps, to provide notice and obtain parental consent prior to collecting information from children under 13. In the coming months, the FTC indicated that it will be conducting additional reviews to determine if some apps are violating COPPA.
TIP: The FTC has indicated for some time that mobile apps directed to children must comply with COPPA. This report serves as a warning that companies should review relevant apps to ensure that they have compliance steps in place. These steps include obtaining parental consent prior to collecting personal information from children, and having COPPA-compliant notices.
Liisa M. Thomas
; Sara Skinner Chubb