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Technology & Innovation

Most Apps For Kids Don’t Disclose Data Collection Practices

According to a report released Monday by the FTC, only 20 percent of the 400 most popular children’s apps did so. Efforts to increase this number have been met with resistance from tech companies.

What’s the Latest Development?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a report on Monday revealing that only 20 percent of the most popular children’s apps available for Android and iOS disclose their data collection methods: what they collect, how they collect, who sees it, and how it’s used. For example, FTC researchers discovered that 58 percent of apps contained ads despite the fact that only 15 percent disclosed this information prior to download. Although none of the apps are named, the report is in line with the agency’s proposal to require site operators to obtain parental consent before collecting data from children.

What’s the Big Idea?

Leading companies, including Apple and Viacom, are resisting the FTC proposal because they fear it will restrict marketing and sales of child-targeted technology. However, one app industry association is working with the American Civil Liberties Union to design disclosure notices that would display voluntarily before an app is downloaded. Application Developers Alliance president Jon Potter says, “[We continue] to work with our members, companies and consumer groups to identify and eventually implement more effective ways of communicating with consumers.”

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