FTC report: Mo­bile apps in­vade chil­dren’s pri­vacy

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Natasha Singer Apps

Hun­dreds of mo­bile apps for chil­dren fail to pro­vide par­ents with ba­sic in­for­ma­tion on the kinds of sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion the apps col­lect and share about their chil­dren, said a new fed­eral report Mon­day.

Only 20 per­cent of chil­dren’s apps pro­vided dis­clo­sures about their data col­lec- tion prac­tices, ac­cord­ing to the staffi report re­leased by the Fed­eral Trade Com­mis­sion.

The apps that did offier dis­clo­sures of­ten pro­vided links to long, dense, tech­ni­cal pri­vacy poli­cies “filled with ir­rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion,” the report said, while oth­ers gave mis­lead­ing in­for­ma­tion about their prac­tices.

The agency’s study ex­am­ined the pri­vacy poli­cies of 400 pop­u­lar chil­dren’s apps — half avail­able through Ap­ple’s App Store and the other half through Google’s An­droid Mar­ket — and com­pared the dis­clo­sures with ac­tual data col­lec­tion prac­tices.

“Most apps failed to pro­vide any in­for­ma­tion about the data col­lected through the app, let alone the type of data col­lected, the pur­pose of the col­lec­tion, and who would ob­tain ac­cess to the data,” the FTC report said. “Even more trou­bling, the re­sults showed that many of the apps shared cer­tain in­for­ma­tion” — such as a de­vice’s phone num­ber, pre­cise lo­ca­tion or unique iden­ti­fi­ca­tion code — with third par­ties, ac­cord­ing to the report.

More than half of the apps stud­ied were trans­mit­ting

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