Monday, December 10, 2012

FTC's Second Kids' App Report Finds Mobile App Privacy Problems for Kids

FTC's Second Kids' App Report Finds Little Progress in Addressing Privacy Concerns Surrounding Mobile Applications for Children
Many mobile app developers are good at coding, but know nothing about legal compliance and even less about kids privacy.

The FTC has ruled that mobile app developers are subject to COPPA (the children's online privacy protection act), which since 2000 has governed what digital developers and networks can collect from preteens or allowed to be shared with others about preteens.

Fines in the space have exceeded $1 million and those fined have included such stellar brands as Sony.

Some parts of the law are tricky, especially when the technology changes every nano second. But the basics are simple.
1. If you knowingly have preteens signing up for your mobile app, the law applies.
2. If your mobile app is directed at young teens or preteens, it applies.
3. The app needs a link to a privacy policy or privacy info embedded into the app (and easily found).
4. The app needs to be up front about what it is collecting from users and from the digital device (GPS, other app usage, social networking accounts, photo sharing accounts, etc.)

then, they need to walk the walk. what they say needs to match what they are doing. Too many developers to save time, effort and legal fees merely copy someone else's privacy policy. But if it doesn't match their privacy practices, they can also be charged with consumer fraud.

My new consulting firm, Wiredtrust.com, offers legal guidance, privacy best practices and the first safety and best practices seal for kids sites, Socially Safe Kids.

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