The Federal Trade Commission released a study that found most mobile apps for kids are secretly collecting information from children including device IDs, phone numbers, locations, and other private information without their parents’ knowledge or consent. In fact, nearly 60 percent of the mobile apps the FTC reviewed from the Google Play and Apple App stores transmitted the device ID and often shared that ID with an advertising network, analytics company or another third party and 14 also transmitted the location of the device and the phone number, the FTC found.
“While we think most companies have the best intentions when it comes protecting kids’ privacy, we haven’t seen any progress when it comes to making sure parents have the information they need to make informed choices about apps for their kids. In fact, our study shows that kids’ apps siphon an alarming amount of information from mobile devices without disclosing this fact to parents,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in a written statement. “All of the companies in the mobile app space, especially the gatekeepers of the app stores, need to do a better job. We’ll do another survey in the future and we will expect to see improvement.”
“Illicit data collection from their mobile phones and tablets places kids at risk,” said Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. “No one should get access to kids’ data, especially geo-location information, without prior consent from a parent.”