In the first of its kind, an iOS developer recently paid $50,000 to settle a Federal Trade Commission complaint charging child-oriented apps collected personal data without parental knowledge. Broken Thumbs Apps, sells several games, such as Zombie Duck Hunt, Truth or Dare, and Emily’s Dress Up.
W3 Innovations, the parent of Broken Thumbs Apps, also agreed to delete personal information collection in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and not engage in such practices again. The apps had asked children to enter their names to start the games, as well as offering the chance to enter blog comments, which were saved by W3, according to the FTC.
The company has had more than 50,000 copies of its iPhone and iPod touch apps download and stored more than 30,000 email addresses, the government alleged Friday. W3 settled Monday, August 15.
The U.S. Congress is considering updating COPPA, first passed in 1998, to include modern technologies, including mobile devices and GPS data.
Are you glad the FTC is watching out for companies trying to harvest kids’ email addresses in this way?