FTC finds little improvement in mobile privacy for children

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The makers of mobile apps for children are making little progress at protecting data and being transparent about the way in which personal information is collected and shared, the Federal Trade Commission revealed Monday in a new report (PDF).

The FTC studied hundreds of apps, which included examining disclosure policies listed in the app store, on the app developer's website and within the app itself. The agency determined that only 20 percent provided privacy information.

In addition, staffers found that around 60 percent of the apps analyzed share information with the developer, or  more commonly, with third-parties, such as ad networks.

"While we think most companies have the best intentions when it comes to 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," FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz.

Last year, in its first settlement related to deceptive mobile applications, the FTC ordered an app maker, W3 Innovations, to pay $50,000 to settle claims that its program illegally collected and disclosed the personal data of tens of thousands of children.

Trade groups representing the mobile industry, such as the Mobile Marketing Association and The Association for Competitive Technology, have provided guidance and offered workshops for developers in the nascent, but fast-growing, space.
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