Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

FTC Says App Makers Should Give Parents More Info FTC Says App Makers Should Give Parents More Info

This ad will end in seconds
 
Close X

Not a member? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation
 

 

Tech / TECHNOLOGY

FTC Says App Makers Should Give Parents More Info

February 16, 2012

The Federal Trade Commission said on Thursday that mobile-application developers and providers need to give parents more information on what data is being collected about children who use mobile apps.

In a staff report surveying mobile apps aimed at children, the FTC said that apps stores and developers are not providing enough information on the data they collect about children and how they use it. 

“Right now, it is almost impossible to figure out which apps collect data and what they do with it,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in a statement. “The kids-app ecosystem needs to wake up, and we want to work collaboratively with industry to help ensure parents have the information they need."

 

The survey focused on apps provided by Apple and Google. It found that the promotion pages on Apple’s App Store offered almost no information about the data-collection policies of apps available for sale there, while the Android Market offered general permission statements. The report noted that mobile apps can collect a lot of information about users, including their location, phone number, and list of contacts. 

The report recommended that app stores and developers work together to provide better information to parents; that app makers offer short and simple disclosures about the data they collect and how they use it; and that the makers indicate whether their apps connect to social-networking sites or use ads.

The FTC is in the process of updating its rules implementing the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The law requires operators of online services to get parental consent before collecting information from children under 13. The commission said that the rules do apply to mobile apps and that it would be conducting a review over the next six months to determine whether some mobile apps have violated the act.

The Association for Competitive Technology, which represents many app makers, acknowledged that the industry has some work to do to ensure that the makers are providing proper disclosures to all users.

“While many children's app developers don't collect information or use ads, we believe that conveying this information in an easy-to-read privacy policy helps consumers and assures them of the safety of their data,” Morgan Reed, the group’s executive director, said in a statement. “We also believe that while the overwhelming majority of children's app makers are well intentioned, if there are those who operate with malice outside the law, we fully endorse regulatory action by the FTC.” 

Privacy advocates called on the FTC to adopt new mobile-privacy rules and urged Congress to pass basic protections for both wired and wireless communications for all consumers.

“Today's report is also a wake-up call that Congress should pass a privacy ‘Bill of Rights’ to protect all consumers online,” said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. “It's time Congress put a stop to these ‘wild west’ mobile-data-collection practices.”

LIKE THIS STORY? Sign up for Tech Edge

Sign up for our daily newsletter and stay on top of tech coverage.

Sign up form for Tech Edge
Job Board
Search Jobs
Professional Development Program Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | Farmington Hills, MI
Biomedical Service Internship Position
American Society of Civil Engineers | Flint, MI
Deputy Director of Transit Operations
American Society of Civil Engineers | San Jose, CA
Structural Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | New Haven, CT
Transportation Planner
American Society of Civil Engineers | Salinas, CA
Assessment and Remediation Team Lead
American Society of Civil Engineers | Regina, SK
Quality Systems Manager
American Society of Civil Engineers | Greensboro, NC
Quality Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | Attica, IN
Senior Water Resource Project Manager
American Society of Civil Engineers | Fairfax, VA
Civil Engineering
American Society of Civil Engineers | Steamboat Springs, CO
Entry Level Geotechnical Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | Albany, NY
Sales Engineer-Process Automation/Instrumentation
American Society of Civil Engineers
Senior Project Manager- Transportation
American Society of Civil Engineers | San Antonio, TX
Materials Engineer 2
American Society of Civil Engineers | IL
Land Surveyor
American Society of Civil Engineers
 
Comments
comments powered by Disqus