The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report raised major concerns over child privacy in regards to mobile applications designed for children.
The FTC reviewed the promotional pages for 400 apps marketed to children and found that fewer than 2 percent disclosed what personal information is collected or how it is used. The commission reported that smart-phone apps collect personal data from the device automatically, including the user’s location, phone number, list of contacts and call logs, and share that with others.
The review did not delve into what information apps actually are collecting from children, but the FTC is looking into that and plans to release its findings within the next four months.
“Parents should be able to learn before they download apps what information will be used and how it’s shared,” said Patricia Poss, one of the FTC report authors.
Apps aimed at children feature everything from alphabet games and nursery rhymes to storybooks and animal puzzles. Some parents don’t want to expose their children to advertisements embedded in apps, because research has shown children are less savvy at discerning the difference between content and advertising. Other parents might not be concerned about targeted ads but draw the line at apps that track a child’s location.
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