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 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).

"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer

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