Feeds

'Kids' apps STILL siphoning too much info from mobes' - FTC boss

Apple and Google under fire for poor standards

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Mobile apps are still collecting children's personal details from their phones without their consent, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned today in a report on privacy intrusions.

The watchdog analysed 400 popular children's apps available for Google Android and Apple iOS devices, and found that the applications continue to take sensitive information from users without disclosing what data is taken nor where it goes.

That included passing on information such as the physical location of the user and even phone numbers to third parties.

"Our study shows that kids' apps siphon an alarming amount of information from mobile devices without disclosing this fact to parents," FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said while discussing the report Mobile Apps for Kids: Disclosures Still Not Making the Grade.

Only 20 per cent of the apps probed showed a privacy policy. Nearly 60 per cent transmitted information from a user's device back to the app developer or, more commonly, to an advertising network, analytics company or other third party, said the FTC.

It is feared these ad networks could pool data collected from all sorts of applications to build up a complete profile on each user - crucially without the punters' knowledge or consent.

The report is a follow-up to a survey completed by the FTC in February this year, and the lack of progress highlights corporate sluggishness on the topic of app privacy.

It wasn't just the developers getting stick: app store gatekeepers - Apple and Google - were criticised for not adequately policing apps available from the online shops. Leibowitz said:

All of the companies in the mobile app space, especially the gatekeepers of the app stores, need to do a better job. We'll do another survey in the future and we will expect to see improvement.

This FTC report follows the first lawsuit by a US state against an app for allegedly breaching privacy laws. California's attorney general has accused Delta Airlines of failing to prominently display a privacy policy for the information it takes. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Trying to sell your house? It'd better have KILLER mobile coverage
More NB than transport links to next-gen buyers - study
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Speak your brains on SIGNAL-FREE mobile comms firm here
Is goTenna tech a goer? Time to grill CEO, CTO
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.