Print 15 comment(s) - last by ebakke.. on Dec 13 at 12:18 PM

Its recent study shows only 20 percent of apps inform the user about its data collection intentions

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) conducted a study that has raised concerns over mobile applications for children that fail to disclose data collection and transmission to parents.

The FTC study took a look at 400 children's apps currently available in Apple's App Store and the Google Play store for Android. Out of these 400 apps, about 60 percent of them collected and transmitted information about the device to developers. Out of that 60 percent, only 20 percent gave a disclaimer about their data collection.

“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 said. “All of the companies in the mobile app space, especially the gatekeepers of the app stores, need to do a better job.”

The FTC added that other app-related issues, like in-app advertising and in-app purchasing, needs to be reviewed and corrected in children's apps as well.

The FTC also said that app developers and app stores have committed to making apps more child-friendly in the past, but they need to do more.

Back in February 2011, Rep. Edward J. Markey (Mass.) and Sens. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.) submitted letters to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz asking for thorough inspection of free children's games by companies such as Pocket Gems and Capcom Interactive. The reason? Developers of free children's games on Apple's iPhone had been charging users for items found throughout the games, but these in-app price tags have not been made clear to those purchasing the games.

While these purchases cannot be made without a password, parents argue that it has become too easy for children to figure it out and that safeguards are not strong enough to stop them from purchasing the items found in these games.

Just last week, Amazon unveiled Amazon's new Kindle FreeTime Unlimited content service for kids, which brings together multiple content types including books, games, educational apps, movies, and TV shows into a simple and easy-to-use service aimed at children age 3 to 8. Even better, none of the apps offered in the service have in-app payments, advertisements, or social media links, and Amazon exclusive Android apps and games are all curated for age appropriateness.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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RE: Stronger Passwords??
By GotThumbs on 12/11/2012 12:47:18 PM , Rating: 2
Because most of these parents don't want to bother with the process. Of course parents are giving the children free reign to install apps as they please. Children have no clue and only push buttons till they get to the game. Heck, you could add a donate button to an app and get the child to donate to any cause. They have no concept of money or what it takes to earn it. The FTC needs to focus on the lack of parenting going on and put the responsibility back on the parents.

How many times have I seen parents give their phone to the child as a toy to occupy/pacify the child so the parent doesn't have too. Children today don't know how to act/behave in public, because of lazy parenting. It's easily seen. Just look around.

RE: Stronger Passwords??
By othercents on 12/11/2012 1:26:59 PM , Rating: 2
Not exactly what I meant. Parents shouldn't share their passwords and use stronger passwords that children won't find out.

However many people say that children lie, misbehave, and are inquisitive because of bad parenting, and I believe that is human nature to do that. The only way to deal with it is to set limits and the best way to set limits on computers are ones that can give the parent more of a hands off approach. The last thing a parent wants to do is spend 2 hours every day policing their children while they do their homework on the computer.

I set website, software, and time limits with the software on the computer, so my children can use the computer as needed. I can reward them with more time or punish them with less and less access. We want children to make the right decision, however they are children and want to learn new things.

This is the same type of controls I set when we go to the store. However the last time I corrected my child in the store I was reported to childcare services. Someone disagreed with my strong worded conversation when I should have just given them my phone.


RE: Stronger Passwords??
By ebakke on 12/11/2012 1:42:10 PM , Rating: 2
The FTC needs to focus on the lack of parenting going on and put the responsibility back on the parents.
So in short, this shouldn't be any of the FTCs concern. Because surely we don't want the FTC advocating how we should parent our children.

RE: Stronger Passwords??
By othercents on 12/11/2012 1:56:20 PM , Rating: 3
So in short, this shouldn't be any of the FTCs concern. Because surely we don't want the FTC advocating how we should parent our children.

So marketing cigarettes to children should be allowed since it should be the parents that tell the children that cigarettes are for adults no mater what the advertisement says? Or they should repeal COPPA since the parents should police each website themselves to make sure their children's identities are not being taken? Or the FCC shouldn't regulate television, so that children's programs are appropriate for children and have ratings associated with them, but the parents should watch every show before hand to police them for their children?

There are some controls by government that are more global that keep multiple parents from doing the same work that one agency can do for all parents. These cover advertising, data collection, rating systems, etc. This is the whole reason for the FTC taking action against Application Developers that are collecting data on children.

When parents allow their children to watch TV and put the show on a G rated show you are expecting the show to be appropriate for the child even if you are sitting watching with them. This should be the same for applications that are marketed to children.


RE: Stronger Passwords??
By ebakke on 12/11/2012 5:53:27 PM , Rating: 1
My answer to your first paragraph: Yes.
There are some controls by government that are more global that keep multiple parents from doing the same work that one agency can do for all parents.
And there is no reason, whatsoever, that this must be done by government. It could just as easily be done by a trade group, a non profit organization, concerned citizens who freely post their analysis on blogs and the like, the actual company producing the good/service, etc. Even if it were to be regulated by government, the federal government is arguably the worst place to do it.
When parents [...] you are expecting [...].
You are choosing to take the risk and place your trust in someone else. The result of that action is no one's problem but yours and the person/entity you entrusted.

RE: Stronger Passwords??
By maugrimtr on 12/13/2012 5:42:54 AM , Rating: 2
Your analysis is utter bull since it also comes with no enforcement. Self regulation is a conflict of interest. Non-profits have absolutely no authority whatsoever. Trade groups are voluntary. This is the perfect place for government regulation to set boundaries and assist parents who have a lot of things to worry about without needing to spend hours per day monitoring TVs, radios, phones, computers, and toys (should we deregulate safety laws on toys too?).

Many parents are not even at home for most of the day since the cash they spend raising children has to come from somewhere.

RE: Stronger Passwords??
By ebakke on 12/13/2012 12:18:43 PM , Rating: 2
You might disagree with my analysis. You might trust the state over individuals. But it most certainly is not bull.

There's no enforcement at the point of a gun, I'll give you that. But to ignore market forces is foolish. (Ignoring government intervention for the time being...) Corporations only get profits when people purchase something from them. Trade groups, non profits, concerned citizens, and corporations themselves can all provide information which the consumer then uses to determine which product best fits his/her needs. If a company fails to provide value to consumers, it will cease to exist. That value judgement absolutely can/should include your child's safety/privacy. There's no reason cell phone apps are any different.

Trying to pawn off parenting abilities on the government because parents are "too busy" is a thinly veiled excuse for laziness. Furthermore, why should the rest of the populace be forced (at gunpoint, mind you) to pay for something that makes your life "easier"? Particularly after you're the one who chose to make your life "harder" in the first place (ignoring rape).

RE: Stronger Passwords??
By Ammohunt on 12/11/2012 2:01:19 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you assessment of bad parenting but its a slippery slope how would you propose regulating bad parenting? My opinion is we need less government intervention in our lives not more however the sad truth is most often the innocent(children) are the primary victims of stupidity.

RE: Stronger Passwords??
By ebakke on 12/11/2012 5:56:26 PM , Rating: 2
Indeed, but we're all the victims of oppressive government.

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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