Washington (October 3, 2018) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn), members of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, today called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the practices of app developers, advertising companies, and app stores, after a recent study found that thousands of apps were accessing children’s sensitive information, such as location information, without providing notice or obtaining the required consent. In a letter to the FTC, Senators Markey and Blumenthal raised their concern about the large number of children’s apps potentially violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The Senators also expressed concern about whether parents are being misled when app stores promote certain apps as designed for children, when in fact they are not appropriate for kids.
A copy of the letter to the FTC can be found HERE.
“Given the sensitive nature of children’s personal information, app developers, advertising companies, and companies with app stores must take responsible steps to protect kids’ privacy and comply with COPPA,” write the Senators. “We urge the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate whether these apps, and the advertising companies they work with, are in fact tracking children with persistent identifiers and collecting their personal information in violation of COPPA, and whether parents are being misled about their practices by their placement in “kids” or “families” sections of app stores.”
Senator Markey is the original House author of COPPA, which requires companies to obtain parental consent before collecting personal information from children under the age of 13.